West Virginia unions protest Verizon's Frontier deal

Regulators aren't the only ones opposed to Frontier's impending deal to purchase Verizon's old lines in West Virginia. Now, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and politicians are protesting the sale in Charleston, W. Va.

Calling the sale of Verizon's assets across 14 states, including Indiana and Ohio, to Frontier "crazy," IBEW President Edwin Hill argues that the sale will not only jack up prices, but also degrade customer service.

The IBEW's move follows an earlier protest by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) who argued that Verizon was engaging in a Reverse Morris Trust scheme where a company sells off assets it does not want to other providers that will take on mountains of debt.

Besides job cuts, another potential drawback of the purchase argues Bruce Getts, business manager for IBEW Local 723, would be limited investment in new broadband network infrastructure in Indiana. "They could be stuck with dial-up Internet... The infrastructure hasn't been properly maintained," he said.

However, Verizon spokesman Harry Mitchell said the unions aren't painting the right picture. "They're masking over the good parts of this deal," he said. "Frontier (specializes) in small- to medium-sized markets like Indiana."

Arguments for and against the deal are in full force this week as the West Va. Public Service Commission gets set to hold hearings on Frontier's acquisition, one that could affect millions of customers. Thus far, the commission's staff said they should reject the deal, while the U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Trade Commission and three other states have supported it.

For more:
- The Journal Gazette has this article

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