Bothell, Kenmore officials approve switch to Frontier Communications / Cable TV news

  • Monday, December 14, 2009 10:34pm
  • Business

Based in Stamford, Conn., Frontier Communications is well on its way to becoming your local cable TV provider.

By a 6-0 vote, Kenmore City Council on Nov. 30 became the latest city to approve a transfer of cable TV franchises currently held by Verizon Inc., to Frontier.

Local legislators need to approve the change in cable operators according to federal guidelines. Bothell officials previously approved the switch Nov. 17.

A spokesman for Verizon, Jonathon Davies said the company needed the approval of 18 Washington cities and had secured OK’s from all except one: Kirkland.

“Kenmore’s franchise transfer vote is based on the council’s finding that Frontier has the network expertise, the focus on customer service and the financial strength needed to provide TV service to its residents,” Davies said.

“We are pleased to have obtained these most recent approvals,” said Steven Crosby, a senior vice president for Frontier. “They are another step towards providing great services, upgrading broadband in many communities and delivering an excellent customer experience. Community leaders in Washington have given a strong vote of confidence to Frontier’s financial strength, network technology and customer-first approach to business.”

Crosby made his comments in a November press release following approval by local legislators in Bothell and elsewhere.

A spokesperson for Frontier did not return a phone call. As a Verizon spokesperson, Davies said he couldn’t address Frontier’s plan for the system of which it appears poised to take control. He did say Frontier intends to honor all existing contracts, building a package of offerings and price categories similar to that offered by Verizon.

The Frontier-Verizon transaction still is subject to approval by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission along with utility regulators in five other states and, finally, the Federal Communications Commission.

Verizon’s sale of its cable systems already has earned the approval of two federal agencies — the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission. Regulators in California, Nevada and South Carolina also have given their OK to the deal.

According to a Frontier press release, the all-stock sale carries a price tag of about $8.6 billion. Frontier claims the sale will create the largest all-rural communications service provider in the country. The resulting company will have some 7 million access lines, 8.6 million voice and broadband connections along with 16,000 employees in 27 states.

Frontier promised to offer new broadband, bundled services and expanded technologies to customers throughout its new service areas.

Essentially, under the terms of the deal between Frontier and Verizon, the latter will create a new cable company and immediately merge it with Frontier. Davies said Verizon will continue to offer its wireless services in all areas currently served by the company. He added his firm decided to sell off its more suburban or even rural cable TV interests, focusing on dense, urban systems it owns in the eastern portion of the country.

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