Frontier Communications to deploy broadband in W. VA

Frontier Communications will work with the Communications Workers of America and the state of West Virgina on broadband deployment and other capital expenditures totaling $310 million over the next three years.  The company’s announcement comes on the heels of  a state approved sale of Verizon’s West Virgina wireline assets to Frontier. Frontier says it plans to work on service quality improvements for existing customers along with broadband deployment.

Frontier is expected to start activities in the state as early as July 1 when it completes its acquisition of Verizon’s assets.  Yearly expenditures will work out to be $30 million in 2010, $85 million in 2011, $73 million in 2012 and $74 million in 2013. In addition, Frontier will spend $48 million on broadband deployment by Dec. 31, 2013.  As part of the conditions of the Verizon sale, the company has guaranteed these expenditures through a combination financial resources that will ensure the company’s access to capital.  Frontier has also agreed to pre-fund a portion of this multi-year investment.

The Governor’s office intends to work with the Public Service Commission to oversee the investment and ensure that all $310 million will be spent inside West Virginia. The investment will be combined with funds from an order issued by the Public Service Commission to Verizon requiring the company to invest $72.4 million in service quality improvements in the state – an investment which Frontier will now manage. As well as $126 million in stimulus money that the state has received for communications and broadband.

“I have followed this sale closely over the past several months,” Governor Manchin said. “I have stayed in regular contact with Frontier, Verizon, the CWA, our citizens and other key stakeholders. Frontier’s guarantee far exceeds everyone’s expectations for the sale. With this investment, more people will have access to critical services – like broadband and high speed internet – than was previously anticipated. This is a great thing for West Virginia.”

Frontier is also required to honor all existing labor commitments with Verizon employees. Yesterday, the company came to an agreement with the Communications Workers of America, District 2 which settles all of the issues related to Frontier’s acquisition of Verizon’s wireline operations and promises to employ nearly 2,000 people in the state. The settlement with the CWA includes extending the Verizon union contract in West Virginia by two years and expanding job security to cover all Verizon union employees. The 2,000 jobs will be a combination of the existing union workforce, 150 new hires and onshoring 500 help desk jobs that were previously outsourced by Verizon.

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