Tag Archives: frontier communications

Google has hyped the gig Frontier CEO complains. Duh.

by Steve Blum • , , ,

The hare provokes the tortoise.

Google’s campaign to vex incumbent broadband providers is a stunning success, at least judging by the thoroughly vexed comments Frontier Communication’s CEO Maggie Wilderotter made to her board. According to a story in the Oregonian, she slammed Google for, um, creating unrest amongst Frontier’s customers…

“Today it’s about the hype, because Google has hyped the gig,” said Wilderotter, in Portland this week for a meeting of her company’s board. She said Google is pitching something that’s beyond the capacity of many devices, with very few services that could take advantage of such speeds, and confusing customers in the process.

Bingo. Google wants to crank up the pressure on incumbents to upgrade networks, and it’s doing it by raising expectations with a simple concept: a gig is good. People get that. Whether they need it or not, whether they know what to do with it or not, they now know, thanks to Google, that a gig is the gold standard.

It’s a problem for incumbents because it puts them in the unfamiliar position of being on the defensive. Which makes for supremely uncomfortable marketing pitches: our stuff is adequate. Particularly for you. Unfortunately for Frontier’s customers, not to mention shareholders, that’s exactly the tack Wilderotter is taking…

Frontier’s pitch: Better prices for more modest speeds. For most people, Wilderotter said, 10 to 12 megabits per second will be perfectly adequate for at least the next couple years. She said Frontier is upgrading its networks in rural communities where it doesn’t offer FiOS to meet that benchmark.

It doesn’t matter that Wilderotter is correct – an honest 10 Mbps will satisfy most people’s needs for a year or two – because all that matters is meeting expectations. And Google is driving those expectations. With intent.

Almost heaven is broadband hell

by Steve Blum • , , ,

I love red meat on a Friday night (h/t to the Baller Herbst List for the heads up). Broadband/DSLreports.com has a delicious post detailing the public meltdown of a Frontier Communications executive when pressed on the highly technical question of “just how freaking fast is your DSL in West Virginia?”…

‘I’ll have an engineer talk to you about the technology we use on that,’ said [Dana] Waldo, senior vice president and general manager of Frontier’s West Virginia operations.

When [a competitor] alleged that Frontier’s broadband DSL service does not offer the 1-megabit upload speed, Waldo was unable to actually answer the question and instead decided to get personal:

“That is not correct, Jim,” Waldo said. “I wasn’t going to bring this up, but I am absolutely beside myself. I feel so sorry for you, that you are so desperate to make you and Citynet relevant and, apparently, keep it afloat. Jim, it’s over. I’m done talking to you. I’m done … wasting my time responding to your mischaracterizations. I’m not going to sit here and waste my time and hear more of his nonsense,” Waldo continued. “I’ll excuse myself.”

It happened while officials were considering a grant to subsidise competitive service in a local area where Frontier is supposed to be delivering Internet connections at West Virginia’s minimum standard of 4 Mbps down/1 Mbps up.

It might just be that Frontier has sent a man to match West Virginia’s mountains. Well, OK, hills. The state has its own broadband project problems. It’s in a battle with the federal government over allegedly misspent broadband stimulus money. Keep in mind, despite what it says on the license plates, the unofficial state motto is “thank god for Mississippi or we’d be 50th in everything”.