Frontier touts improved service to lawmakers
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Numerous families across West Virginia have complained about Frontier Communication and its Internet service in recent years.
Those challenges still persist, a senior vice president for the company acknowledged before state lawmakers at a recent committee meeting in Huntington.
“We recognize and are very clear-eyed about the fact that we have reputational challenges in West Virginia,” Allison Ellis told lawmakers. “People have been disappointed in us for many years, and that’s something that we have to address head on.”
Ellis, a senior vice president for Frontier Communications, says fiber coupled with new management and better customer service has been the solution.
Del. Adam Burkhammer, R-Lewis, gave voice to the turnaround.
“Frontier was kind of a word that I couldn’t say in public for a long time in my area,” he told Ellis. “But we’re part of the Weston program that you’ve been deploying, and I’ve heard nothing but great things out of that.”
Frontier estimates it’s trying to deploy 300,000 feet of fiber each week as the company remains a dominant provider across West Virginia.
Ellis told lawmakers that Frontier has ongoing or near-term fiber expansion in 22 of West Virginia’s 55 counties. It has already deployed fiber to more than 154,000 locations since 2021. That includes Charleston, Huntington, Ripley and areas of Putnam County, among other spots statewide.
Future expansion is planned for Wayne, Spencer, Richwood, Point Pleasant and Winfield.
“Unlike copper, fiber is not distance sensitive, so you get the same connection, same speed whether you’re a thousand feet from our central office or 3,000 feet from our central office,” Ellis told lawmakers. “So, that’s the beauty of fiber. It totally eliminates that signal degradation issue that copper technology just suffers from.”
This all coming two years after Frontier emerged from bankruptcy. That process includes an agreement with state regulators that Frontier invest at least $200 million and connect 150,000 over three years.
“I believe we’ve satisfied both already and ahead of schedule,” she told committee chairman, Del. Daniel Linville, R-Cabell.
The chairman, who had asked about the bankruptcy mandates, told WSAZ Friday that he walked away believing he had heard the first steps in a potential turnaround.
“I think they’re doing a whole lot better than they were, probably three years ago, but they’re nowhere near where we want them to be,” Linville said.
“Certainly they’ve still got their challenges ... and WSAZ a huge help for us in trying to make sure that our constituents’ concerns are taken care of with the company, but we’re beginning to see over a period of time investment that is over and above what we’ve demanded happen and what we’ve pushed for to happen,” Linville added. “They’re beginning to compete better in the marketplace with a superior fiber product and all without, in many instances, the government actually having to grant them dollars in order to do it.”
Linville said an email address -- firstname.lastname@example.org -- remains active as a way for Frontier customers to loop in state lawmakers on concerns they have with the company.
Frontier previously announced plans to invest $100 million and connect 100,000 locations in West Virginia in 2023 alone.
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