Many on this board never thought this would happen.
The West Virginia Public Service Commission (PSC) and the Oregon Public Utilities Commission (PUC) released $21.8 million in escrowed funds to Frontier Communications (FTR). The funds were escrowed in connection with Frontier’s acquisition of wireline properties from Verizon Communications in July 2010. Two West Virginia escrows totaled $21.4 million; $400,000 was the remaining amount in the Oregon escrow. The funds reimburse Frontier for prior investments that improved service quality and expanded broadband networks.
Frontier asked the West Virginia PSC to release $14.7 million from a service quality escrow account and $6.7 million from a broadband escrow account, said Dana Waldo, Senior Vice President and General Manager for West Virginia. Verizon funded a service quality account at $72.4 million; in a separate account, Frontier funded $48 million toward broadband deployment. The PSC granted Frontier’s request in full.
In Oregon, the PUC’s release of $400,000 in escrow funds was the last of more than $15 million in funds put into escrow by Frontier as a condition of approval of the acquisition.
According to Kathleen Abernathy, Executive Vice President of External Affairs for Frontier, “In both states, the commissions have closely followed our investments in rural America. The release of the funds is confirmation of Frontier’s tireless commitment to deploying broadband to unserved and underserved areas and to relieving Internet congestion.”
Ms. Abernathy added, “Just three years ago, Frontier took ownership of wireline assets that no longer met the needs of consumers in 14 states. We have invested heavily since then to transform the broadband, voice and video experience of our customers. The latest escrow releases, all of which required commission approval, confirm that we did what we said we’d do to meet the expanding technology needs of our customers.”
Mr. Waldo noted, “We appreciate that the PSC – following its ongoing review of our performance –released these funds. In West Virginia, we have strengthened and extended our networks to make broadband available to more than 86 percent of households today, compared to 62 percent under Verizon. We are dedicated to providing customers with the best possible communications services.”
This confirms Maggies original plan for broadband deployment and the capital plan. Even though FTR is the primary landline provider in West Virginia, there are very access few lines in this state due to lthe low population. The feat of getting broadband to the majority of customers deserves praise. Very rural, hilly and a difficult build. If Maggie continues to keep this trend going, it could lead higher revenue numbers depending on take rates.