California says adios to Verizon, bienvenido to Frontier

3 April 2016 by Steve Blum
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Work in progress.

As of Friday, two million Californians have a new telephone company. Frontier Communications wrapped up the paperwork and took title to Verizon’s wireline telephone systems in California, Florida and Texas…

The acquired businesses include approximately 3.3 million voice connections, 2.1 million broadband connections, and 1.2 million FiOS video subscribers, as well as the related incumbent local exchange carrier businesses. New customers will begin receiving monthly bills starting in mid-April.

“This is a transformative acquisition for Frontier that delivers first-rate assets and important new opportunities given our dramatically expanded scale,” said Daniel J. McCarthy, Frontier’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “It significantly expands our presence in three high-growth, high-density states, and improves our revenue mix by increasing the percentage of our revenues coming from segments with the most promising growth potential.”

Frontier already has a couple hundred thousand subscribers in California, the result of buying up smaller rural telephone systems. Many of Verizon’s copper systems fit that description, too. Combine that experience with the fact that Frontier doesn’t have a high margin wireless business to build, and it should mean a marked improvement in attitude and service for current customers.

The bulk of Frontier’s new friends, though, are in the urban and suburban southern California systems Verizon took off of GTE’s hands. Many of those have been converted to FiOS-brand fiber to the home service, that currently supports symmetrical 100 Mbps service and is upgradeable to more. Good for them. Verizon’s Californian copper customers are in poorer condition – not a single system meets the California Public Utilities Commission’s minimum 6 Mbps download and 1.5 Mbps upload standard, and many can’t support broadband at any speed. There’s work to be done.