Frontier Communications Corporation (NYSE: FTR) today reiterated its broadband commitment to the state of Ohio, while also announcing highlights and status of several key initiatives. During a business community luncheon at The Ohio State University at Marion, Frontier’s Chairman and CEO Maggie Wilderotter highlighted Frontier’s commitment to Ohio, focusing on broadband deployment, capital investment, service improvements and job retention/creation. These commitments were established when the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) approved Frontier’s transaction with Verizon earlier this year. Mrs. Wilderotter was joined by Dr. E. Gordon Gee, President, The Ohio State University, who welcomed Frontier and the educational and economic opportunities afforded by future broadband expansion. The highlights of Frontier’s Ohio plan include:
By December 31, 2013, Frontier will take household broadband availability in its service areas to 85%; and
To accomplish this, Frontier will make capital investments of $50 million per year for each of the next three years. Furthermore, if broadband isn’t available to 80% of the households within Frontier’s service area by 2012, the agreement will be extended an additional year, i.e., Frontier will be required to invest an additional $50 million.
During her remarks, Mrs. Wilderotter announced the first round of investment. “Our local engineering and operations teams have been identifying locations for broadband deployment, with the first new areas scheduled to come on line starting the fourth quarter of this year. We’ll be sharing the specific areas in the coming weeks. To accomplish the roll-out, we are already upgrading our physical plant and equipment and training employees so that we can bring high-speed Internet to the underserved and unserved in Ohio.” In addition to broadband expansion, Frontier committed to maintaining and/or improving service quality metrics throughout Ohio. Mrs. Wilderotter also commented on job retention and growth. “We know that jobs matter. We are retaining the more than 1,000 employees here in Ohio. Recently, we announced the hiring of more than 30 positions including technical managers, technicians and splicers who will be supporting our network. These are well paying jobs that provide solid benefits in addition to a career path.” Mrs. Wilderotter emphasized the company’s commitment to a 100 percent U.S.-based workforce and stated that as part of the transaction, Frontier is bringing back to the United States 500 jobs outsourced to India by Verizon Communications.