Frontier's middle mile will solve some of Verizon's last mile woes, says CFO

23 September 2015 by Steve Blum
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It looked like this in 2011. Click for a bigger view.

Connecting Frontier Communication’s existing national fiber backbone to the Californian telephone systems it plans to buy from Verizon might be enough to greatly improve speeds. That’s what John Jureller, Frontier’s chief financial officer, told an investment conference last week. According to a story by Sean Buckley in FierceTelecom, Jureller said

“What we have found as we have gotten deeper and deeper into our integration, it has got a well enabled network backbone that might have been built out with DSL at one point with technology that might have been two generations ago,” Jureller said. “You might have a market like Santa Barbara, Calif., or Palm Springs, Calif., that might only have 7 Mbps of speed and with slight change in equipment and electronics we think we can transform into a 50 Mbps product.”

The top end for Frontier’s copper-based service is 100Mbps, which it’s offering in Connecticut via systems it bought from AT&T. Verizon’s wireline infrastructure in California, though, is likely to be a different story. The condition of Verizon’s networks here is not generally top of the line. Some, for example in a swath of unserved communities stretching from western Kern County to southeastern Monterey County, do not support even1990s style legacy DSL.

But Frontier has experience, in California and elsewhere, taking over Verizon’s copper plant and upgrading it to the point where it at least meets the CPUC’s minimum standard of 6 Mbps download and 1.5 Mbps upload speeds. Jureller said that the subsidies Frontier expects to get from the Federal Communication Commission’s Connect America Fund will go mostly toward areas in California where there’s no broadband service at all.