Frontier’s sins make a longer stay in California bankruptcy purgatory more likely


A lukewarm reply to demands that the California Public Utilities Commission take a hard look at its post-bankruptcy plans makes it a good bet that Frontier Communications won’t get a green light in California until sometime next year. Last month several organisations, including the CPUC’s own public advocates office, protested Frontier’s request for quick and painless permission to hand control of its business in California to a new set of owners. Last week, Frontier responded.

Like the protests, Frontier’s reply runs through the long list of problems that the company has experienced, if not caused, in California.… More

Frontier’s “pervasive lack of credibility” drives FCC’s rejection of its service claims; CPUC urged to ignore its “high level rhetoric and promises”

1 July 2020 by Steve Blum
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There’s rapidly increasing skepticism in San Francisco and Washington, D.C. of Frontier Communications’ corporate honesty. Frontier was blasted in two separate agency actions in recent days: the California Public Utilities Commission’s review of its post bankruptcy plans and the Federal Communications Commission’s broadband subsidy auction, as it prepares to distribute the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund.

Challenges filed by incumbent broadband providers, aimed at blocking federal subsidies in their captive rural markets, were largely dismissed by the Federal Communications Commission last week.… More

CPUC knows how to end taxpayer-funded middle mile fiber grabs. As it should

11 June 2020 by Steve Blum
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Connected central coast 625

It can be done right. As it has.

One of the challenges to broadband subsidy proposals submitted to the California Public Utilities Commission this week shows why open access middle mile fiber is a necessity for closing rural broadband gaps, and how the lack of it is a major barrier to improving Internet service in California.

Plumas Sierra Telecommunications, which is the telecoms arm of the Plumas Sierra Electric Cooperative, objects to Frontier’s request for money to pay for a building a middle mile fiber route to reach the towns of Herlong and Janesville in Lassen County.… More

Frontier tells CPUC to rubberstamp bankruptcy deal because you’ll never know the difference


Why don’t you go home to your wife? I’ll tell you what, I’ll go home to your wife, and outside of the improvement she’ll never know the difference.

Groucho Marx as professor Quincy Adams Wagstaff in Horse Feathers.

Frontier Communications doesn’t want the California Public Utilities Commission messing about with the bankruptcy settlement that’s churning through a federal court in New York. So it’s asking the CPUC for fast and uncritical approval of a transfer of ownership to the banks and other lenders that will try to recoup what they can of the $11 billion in bad debt that’s being washed away.… More

We’re doing better than Bangladesh, so give us money, telcos tell U.S. senate

India utility pole

Telephone companies don’t appear to having the same success cable companies have had with broadband promotions during the covid–19 emergency. The head of telco’s primary Washington, D.C. lobbying front organisation asked a U.S. senate committee on Wednesday to “keep providers on sound financial footing” and urged the use of existing, incumbent-friendly federal programs to distribute subsidies directly to them.

California’s two major telephone companies – AT&T and Frontier Communications – aren’t offering service at the 25 Mbps at $15 or less per month covid–19 benchmark set by California Public Utilities Commission president Marybel Batjer.… More

Telcos struggle as subscribers dump legacy video and copper subscriptions

29 April 2020 by Steve Blum
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San benito pole route 13apr2019

It’s been a bad couple of weeks for big wireline telcos. Frontier Communications’ bankruptcy led the parade of dismal news. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission made a couple weeks ahead of going into bankruptcy, Frontier pinned the blame for its problems on its legacy copper business and the less-than-lucrative rural customers who depend on it. But that was no surprise.

AT&T’s and Verizon’s troubles weren’t exactly a shock, either. Some business lines, like video and copper-based broadband service, have been fading for some time.… More

California must take Frontier’s bankruptcy as seriously as PG&E’s

Frontier Communications filed for bankruptcy protection last night. In a statement posted on its website, the company said it was washing away $11 billion in debt, out of a total of $22 billion owed to creditors, much of it the result of its purchase of Verizon’s legacy wireline telephone systems in California. The statement has the usual blah-blah-blah about its hope to “continue providing quality service”, but according to a story on Bloomberg by Allison McNeely, Frontier will “hand control to its unsecured creditors, according to people with knowledge of the matter”.… More

Frontier’s slow video streaming platform is too fast for most of its California copper customers

17 March 2020 by Steve Blum
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Outer limits intro

There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical.

Fewer than half of Frontier Communications’ legacy copper, i.e. DSL-only, homes in California can watch more than one high definition stream at a time on its chosen video streaming platform, Philo. More than a quarter can’t even watch one HD stream, and 14% will get jerky, low quality video, if they can get anything at all.… More

Charter continues fight against broadband upgrades in low income California communities

24 February 2020 by Steve Blum
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Monopolising low income communities and soaking residents for expensive television and broadband service packages seems to be a key element in Charter Communications business strategy, and it’s continuing its fight against broadband subsidies that might break that stranglehold.

Even in places where it has twice challenged broadband grants, and twice lost.

Charter wants to block two broadband infrastructure projects – one in Santa Cruz County and one in Kern County – approved by the California Public Utilities Commission for subsidies from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) last year.… More

Investment analysts say AT&T, Frontier, others padded bottom line with FCC broadband subsidies

30 January 2020 by Steve Blum
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The Federal Communications Commission is scheduled to vote today on a new ten year, $20 billion broadband subsidy program called the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) that will mostly benefit rural communities. The proposal on the table would set the U.S. minimum broadband standard at 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload speeds. That’s a lot better than California’s pathetic standard of 6 Mbps down/1 Mbps up, and a significant improvement over the 10 Mbps down/1 Mbps up minimum that the FCC established for the Connect America Fund II program (CAF II), which RDOF will replace.… More