Hearings set to investigate Verizon's copper networks, but that's not enough

8 June 2015 by Steve Blum
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But it’s coming over the road, not over the top.

The condition of Verizon’s copper networks will be assessed, at least to an extent, by the California Public Utilities Commission. That’ll happen whether or not commissioners go along with president Michael Picker’s plan to cancel a formal study of wireline service in California. Verizon needs permission to sell its wireline systems to Frontier Communications. To help it reach a decision, the CPUC is holding what looks to be a lot of public hearings all over the state, specifically asking local residents about the state of those networks

The assets to be transferred include, in addition to the customer accounts, the physical assets of Verizon California such as poles, wires, switches, trucks, central offices and the like…

The workshops will review the technical condition of the network in the areas adjacent to the [public participation hearing] locations in order to inform the parties and Commission about the operational status of the facilities to be migrated from Verizon to Frontier, and what steps may be necessary to satisfy the consumer benefit and public interest tests for approval of such transfers under the Public Utilities Code.


Frontier tells CPUC to stay away from broadband issues

Don’t go there.

Frontier Communications and Verizon are trying to make the same argument that Comcast made, and lost, when it tried to restrict the California Public Utilities Commission’s review of its proposed mega-merger to some very narrow, telephone-centric considerations.

In this case, Frontier wants to buy out Verizon’s wireline systems in California. The CPUC’s office of ratepayer advocates is urging the commission to decide if that’s in the public interest, in part, on whether it’s good or bad for the broadband market here.… More

Gee, I guess customers really do want faster broadband says Frontier CEO

Click for a closer look at Frontier’s proposed footprint in California.

Internet service tiers above the Californian minimum of 6 Mbps download speeds are increasingly popular among customers served by Frontier Communications. That’s one of the nuggets from the company’s quarterly earnings report and conference call on Tuesday. New CEO Daniel McCarthy said that 44% of customers who signed up for either new or upgraded Internet service in the first three months of the year opted for higher speeds.… More

Business as usual so far for Frontier's proposed takeover of Verizon's Californian landlines

Round up the usual suspects.

The proposed takeover of Verizon’s wireline broadband, telephone and video systems in California by Frontier Communications hasn’t attracted an unusual amount of opposition yet. That’s not to say there’s no opposition, just that it’s mostly coming from the usual groups making the usual objections.

Three consumer advocacy groups – TURN, the Center for Accessible Technology and the Greenlining Institute – generally said the companies hadn’t provided enough information to the California Public Utilities Commission, which has to approve the deal.… More

Frontier says it'll offer Californians better broadband than Verizon

30 March 2015 by Steve Blum
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Click for a bigger version.

Frontier Communications is formally asking the California Public Utilities Commission for permission to buy Verizon’s copper telephone and fiber-to-the-home systems in the state. It’s part of a bigger transaction that includes Verizon’s wireline operations in Florida and Texas.

The California piece is big, involving 2 million subscriber phone lines plus broadband and video accounts. It should also result in better service for people who live in the rural areas where Verizon is letting its copper rot on the poles.… More

California's Lost Coast found in a Frontier CASF proposal

7 March 2015 by Steve Blum
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The western edge of Humboldt County is known as the Lost Coast. The name comes from both the wave of depopulation the area experienced during the Depression, and from the fact that its rugged terrain left it largely ignored by state highway construction plans. The area was likewise bypassed by telecoms infrastructure.

Frontier Communications is the local phone company, having taken over the original rural telco that served the area. Don’t even ask about cable.… More

Californian ISPs pass on upgrades, open door to subsidised competition

4 November 2014 by Steve Blum
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Exercising the right to refuse first.

It looks like the right of first refusal hurdle has been cleared for broadband infrastructure subsidies in California, and successfully so. Assuming no filings are stuck somewhere in the system, only Frontier Communications has told the California Public Utilities Commission that it will upgrade broadband service on its own in at least some of its territory. For up to a year, the commission won’t fund competing broadband projects in the 7 communities identified by Frontier.… More

Frontier pledges to boost broadband service in California

3 November 2014 by Steve Blum
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Click for a bigger version.

So far, only one Internet service provider has exercised its right of first refusal to upgrade substandard service areas on its own and thereby prevent competing projects from getting subsidies from the California Advanced Services Fund for up to a year. Frontier Communications submitted a letter to the California Public Utilities Commission on Friday making a plausible pledge to improve service in 7 rural Californian communities to at least minimum levels…

The project upgrades are in northeast California in the area of Alturas, Chester, Lake Almanor, Janesville, Shingletown, in the central California area of Tuolumne and along the California and Nevada border adjacent to Topaz Lake, NV on the California side.


Google has hyped the gig Frontier CEO complains. Duh.

4 August 2014 by Steve Blum
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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.


Don't expect fiber upgrades as telcos transition to IP-based networks

It’s about avoiding the mess.

There’s no cosmic plan to replace copper telephone wires with glass. That’s the clear message coming out of a panel discussion at the Comptel trade show in Las Vegas this week. In an article for Fierce Telecom, Sean Buckley reports that executives from AT&T, CenturyLink and Frontier agreed that there are no plans in the works for wide scale replacement of copper with fiber, but they will look at ending support for plain old telephone networks on a case-by-case basis…

‘Today, we have retired some copper, but where we have done it is very, very rare,’ said Bill Cheek, president of Wholesale Markets Group for CenturyLink.