State regulators approve Frontier Communications bankruptcy reorganization – Hartford Courant

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State regulators have approved a Frontier Communications bankruptcy reorganization plan that requires the Norwalk-based company to make technology upgrades and maintain its current number of technicians and customer service representatives.

Under the plan approved by the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority on Wednesday, Frontier will form a new holding company as part of a restructuring plan to eliminate more than $10 billion in debt and $1 billion in interest payments. annual.

Regulators require the company to expand its fiber optic network to at least 100,000 additional locations in Connecticut by the end of 2024. It also requires Frontier to submit a plan to PURA for transitioning basic phone customers , many of which still rely on aging copper. wired, fiber or other technology.

For the next two years, Frontier must maintain its current number of Connecticut-based technicians and customer service representatives. Frontier is committed to maintaining its headquarters in Connecticut.

The president of the union representing cross-border workers welcomed parts of the deal, but also noted that regulators could have asked the company for stronger commitments.

“[The] This decision commits Frontier to expanding its fiber footprint and provides additional protections for Frontier technicians and customer service representatives who are needed to improve service in Connecticut,” said Dave Weidlich, president of Communications Workers of America, Local 1298.

“However, we believe this was a missed opportunity to follow the example of other states that have imposed stricter conditions on Frontier in terms of capital investment, broadband deployment and labor retention. work,” Weidlich said. “CWA remains committed to working with Frontier to provide the best possible service to Connecticut customers and to ensure that Frontier complies with both the letter and the spirit of this decision. We hope this decision will serve as a starting point for Frontier’s continued investment and that Frontier has a strong and ongoing commitment to Connecticut homes and businesses to provide Connecticut with the connectivity we deserve.

The Federal Communications Commission approved Frontier’s reorganization plan last month. At that time, the company issued a statement indicating that this would allow it to continue to provide essential telecommunications services.

“Our team remains focused on our transformation strategy to strengthen our capital base, improve our operations and enhance the experience of our customers across the United States,” said Bernie Han, President and CEO.

Frontier provides communication services to consumer, commercial and wholesale customers in 25 states. As of December 2019, Frontier served approximately 4.1 million customers, including approximately 3.5 million broadband subscribers, 2.6 million voice and 660,000 video subscribers, according to the PURA decision. The company employed approximately 18,300 people.

Daniela Altimari can be reached at [email protected].

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