Frontier Communications Corporation is a telecommunications company in the United States. It was known as Citizens Utilities Company until May 2000 and Citizens Communications Company until July 31, 2008. The company previously served primarily rural areas and smaller communities, but now also serves several large metropolitan markets.
Frontier Communications headquarters in Norwalk, Connecticut
|Citizens Utilities Company|
Citizens Communications Company
|Predecessor||Public Utilities Consolidated Corporation|
|Dan McCarthy, President and CEO|
|Services||Local and long-distance telephone service, Internet access, wireless Internet access, digital phone, DISH satellite TV, fiber-optic Internet, fiber-optic television|
|Revenue||US$9.128 billion (2017)|
|-US$1.568 billion (2017)|
|-US$1.804 billion (2017)|
|Total assets||US$24.884 billion (2017)|
|Total equity||US$2.274 billion (2017)|
Number of employees
|Subsidiaries||Citizens Cable Company|
Citizens Capital Ventures Corporation
Frontier Communications ILEC Holdings
Frontier Subsidiary Telco LLC
Frontier Telephone of Rochester
Frontier Communications of Connecticut
In addition to local and long-distance telephone service, Frontier offers broadband Internet, digital television service, and computer technical support to residential and business customers in 29 states in the United States. Frontier is the eighth largest provider of broadband internet in the United States with 3,735,000 subscribers. It is also the 11th largest pay television provider in the United States with 838,000 subscribers.
Originally based in Minneapolis, Citizens Utilities Company was formed from remnants of Public Utilities Consolidated Corporation, owned by Wilbur B. Foshay, in 1935. As the post-war years started, the company caught the interest of a New York investor. 30-year-old Richard Rosenthal was named president of the company in 1946, the youngest company president in the industry at that time. From the 1950s through the 1970s the company expanded nationwide.
Telephone line acquisitionsEdit
Citizens Utilities began a rapid expansion in 1993, announcing an agreement to acquire 500,000 rural access lines from GTE. In December 1993, it acquired 190,000 lines in four states, Idaho, Tennessee, West Virginia and Utah. Coghest Frontier of DGF City East/West & Contel of the West lines in Utah became part of Citizens Telecommunications of Utah. GTE Northwest lines in Idaho become part of Citizens Telecommunications Company of Idaho. GTE South lines in Tennessee became part of Citizens Telecommunications Company of Tennessee, while lines in West Virginia became part of Citizens Telecommunications Company of West Virginia.
In June 1994, it completed the acquisition of 270,000 lines, formerly part of Contel of New York, which became part of Citizens Telecommunications Company of New York. In November that year, Citizens acquired 38,000 lines. Lines in Arizona, formerly part of Contel of the West, became part of Citizens Telecommunications Company of the White Mountains, while lines in Montana became part of Citizens Telecommunications Company of Montana.
Citizens, in 1994, announced that it would acquire 117,000 telephone lines and cable franchises in eight states from Alltel for $292 million. On June 30, 1995, it acquired two operating companies from Alltel. One of them was in Oregon and merged into Citizens' existing company there. The other, Mountain State Telephone, was in West Virginia and was renamed Citizens Mountain State Telephone. Citizens Mountain State Telephone later absorbed the former GTE operations and took on the Citizens Telecommunications name. On September 30, Citizens completed the acquisition of Alltel's lines in Tennessee, which became a part of Citizens Telecommunications Company of the Volunteer State. On October 31, it completed the acquisition from Alltel of Navajo Communications, which operates lines for the Navajo community in Arizona, California, and New Mexico.
On January 2, 1996, Citizens acquired 3600 lines in Pennsylvania and 20,000 lines in California from Alltel. On April 1 that year, it acquired Alltel Nevada, which included 23,000 telephone lines. The company was renamed Citizens Telecommunications Company of Nevada.
Citizens acquired Ogden Telephone in 1997.
In 1999, Citizens announced that it planned to acquire 187,000 local access lines from GTE for $664 million in Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska, and North Dakota. The sales were closed following the merger of GTE and Bell Atlantic to form Verizon.
Lines in Nebraska were split from GTE Midwest to become a part of Citizens Telecommunications Company of Nebraska. Lines in North Dakota were split. Some became part of Citizens of Montana while the rest joined with lines formerly part of Contel of Minnesota to become part of Citizens Telecommunications Company of Minnesota. Lines in Illinois became a part of Citizens Telecommunications Company of Illinois.
Proposed acquisition of US West linesEdit
Citizens, in 1999, announced plans to acquire 530,000 rural access lines from US West, a Baby Bell, for $1.65 billion. The sale would not have included US West Dex directories in those territories.
In 2001, Qwest, which acquired US West in 2000, terminated the sale because Citizens refused to complete the transaction.
Citizens sold its non-telephone divisions in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The following divisions were sold:
- Louisiana natural gas to Atmos Energy in 2000.
- Water and wastewater operations to American Water Works in 2002
- Colorado gas utilities to Kinder Morgan in 2001.
- Hawaii electric utilities to Kauaʻi Island Utility Cooperative in 2002.
- Hawaii gas utility to K1 Ventures in 2002.
- Arizona electric and gas utilities to UNS Energy in 2003.
- Vermont electric distribution to Vermont Electric Cooperative and transmission to Vermont Electric Power Company in 2004.
Global Crossing and Commonwealth transactionsEdit
Citizens Communications acquired the Frontier name and local exchange properties from Bermuda-based Global Crossing in 2001. Global Crossing acquired the local exchange properties in 1999 when it purchased Frontier Corporation, originally Rochester Telephone Corporation.
Citizens acquired the operations from Global Crossing North America for $3.65 billion. The companies included in the acquisition included Frontier incumbent local exchange carrier (ILEC) companies in New York as well as Frontier Subsidiary Telco, which included all Global Crossing North America ILEC operations located outside of New York, Frontier Communications of America, a long distance provider, and Frontier Communications of Rochester, a competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC). The acquisition was completed in June 2001.
In 2006, Citizens acquired Commonwealth Telephone, a Pennsylvania telephone company.
Citizens Communications stockholders approved changing the corporate name to Frontier Communications Corporation at the annual meeting on May 15, 2008. The name change became effective on July 31, 2008, and the company's stock symbol on the New York Stock Exchange changed from "CZN" to "FTR". On December 2, 2011, Frontier announced trading of its stock would move from the New York Stock Exchange to the NASDAQ stock exchange. The stock began trading under the same "FTR" symbol on the NASDAQ exchange at the start of the December 16, 2011 trading day.
Purchase of Verizon linesEdit
In May 2009, Frontier announced that it would acquire Verizon Communications' landline assets in Arizona, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin for $8.6 billion. Verizon had been in the process of divesting its landlines in an effort to focus more on its broadband and wireless businesses.
In all states other than West Virginia, this takeover primarily involved rural exchanges that were formerly a part of the GTE system when Verizon Communications was formed by the merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE. However, in West Virginia, Frontier acquired Verizon West Virginia, formerly The Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company of West Virginia, a former Bell System unit. When combined with its existing subsidiary Citizens Telecommunications Company of West Virginia, Frontier became the local incumbent telephone company for all but five exchanges in the entire state. The transition was finalized on July 1, 2010; in some states, Frontier was required not to raise rates, and in others, broadband access was to be expanded. Ninety-two percent of people in Frontier's existing service area had access to broadband, while just 65 percent did in the newly acquired areas, with a goal to reach 85 percent in three years.
On February 5, 2015, Frontier announced that it would acquire Verizon's wireline assets in California, Florida and Texas for $10.5 billion.
Purchase of AT&T linesEdit
On October 24, 2014, Frontier closed its acquisition of AT&T's wireline, DSL, U-verse video and satellite TV businesses in Connecticut. The deal included the wireline subsidiaries Southern New England Telephone and SNET America and consumer, business and wholesale customer relationships.
Sale of northwest assetsEdit
On May 29, 2019, Frontier announced that it had agreed to sell its operations in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington to WaveDivision Capital (led by former Wave Broadband CEO Steve Weed) and Searchlight Capital Partners for $1.352 billion.
Fiber optic and Internet servicesEdit
In addition to the purchase of copper lines from Verizon, over time Frontier also acquired the fiber-optic system built by Verizon primarily in Fort Wayne, Indiana, around Portland, Oregon, the Tampa Bay Area of Florida, Southern California, some eastern suburbs of Seattle, Washington, the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, and the Greenville area in South Carolina. The company kept the name "FiOS" for the fiber systems and licenses it acquired from Verizon.
The initial transition was rocky, with Frontier initially claiming that it had no plans for changes after the transition, but later attempted to institute a $500 installation fee for new television subscribers, backed out of franchise agreements in some cities in Oregon, and increased rates by 50% in Indiana. Frontier later retracted the rate increases and installation fee, but has not reclaimed franchises in the cities that it relinquished and not before losing FiOS TV subscribers.
Frontier FiOS service in most markets operates on the same technology and software as the Verizon FiOS system.
Frontier DSL BroadbandEdit
In rural areas including parts of upstate New York, Frontier only offers DSL internet service to its customers using traditional copper wires. Frontier's DSL service is considered by many users[who?] to be some of the worst in the industry.[better source needed]
West Virginia DSL speedsEdit
In 2015, Frontier agreed to a settlement in West Virginia, over a class action lawsuit alleging that the company's DSL services in the region did not meet the advertised speeds (such as advertising 6 Mbps but only delivering 1.5). The company committed to spending at least $150 million on improving its broadband infrastructure in the region, and promised to discount users who were affected by this.
All Frontier FiOS subscribers are charged a fee of $10 for renting a router, even if they have installed their own router, or bought one outright from Verizon prior to the acquisition of their market's operations by Frontier. The company argued that these fees are necessary in order to cover the additional costs of supporting equipment that is not provisioned by Frontier itself.
Frontier purchased the naming rights to venues including:
- New York
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
- Hoover's. "Frontier Communications Corporation". Company profiles. Austin, Texas. Archived from the original on 2011-01-01. Retrieved 2011-03-28.
Citizens was incorporated in 1935 to reorganizes Public Utilities Consolidated Corp., a subsidiary of W.B. Foshay Co. which had been forced into receivership.
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- "Company press release". Phx.corporate-ir.net. Retrieved 2012-09-04.
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- Benjamin, Romano (May 29, 2019). "Northwest broadband investors buy regional Frontier Communications assets serving 350,000 customers". Seattle Times. Retrieved 23 June 2019.
- Butcher, Rob (2010-07-01). "Goodbye Verizon FiOS, Hello Frontier Communications". Kirkland Views. Archived from the original on 2016-03-10.
- "Frontier: No Changes For FiOS, DirecTV Customers For 9-12 Months - 2009-05-14 18:26:00 | Multichannel News". Multichannel.com. Retrieved 2012-05-15.
- "News and information for McMinnville and Yamhill Valley, Oregon - wine country newspaper". NewsRegister.com. Retrieved 2012-05-15.
- "Frontier plans substantial rate hike for FIOS TV". Wane.com. Archived from the original on 2013-05-23. Retrieved 2012-05-15.
- "Updated: Frontier's Fiber Mess: Company Losing FiOS Subs, Landline Customers, But Adds Bonded DSL". Stop the Cap!. 2011-08-16. Retrieved 2012-05-15.
- "Frontier Communications". ConsumerAffairs. Retrieved 2016-01-01.
- "Frontier to pay $150M to West Virginia to settle lawsuit over broadband speed". FierceTelecom. Retrieved 2019-07-03.
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- Brodkin, Jon (2019-07-02). "Frontier customer bought his own router—but has to pay $10 rental fee anyway". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2019-07-03.
- "Ice arena to be named for Frontier Communications - Spokesman.com - Sept. 22, 2011". Spokesman.com.