Introduction: Frontier Communications
Frontier Communications Corporation is the sixth biggest local exchange carrier in the
United States. The company’s target market is mainly rural or satellite communities spread far
and wide. Starting out by providing local and long-distance telephone services, the company
today offers broadband internet, digital television subscriptions as well PC technical support
both to private and business customers in 27 states.
Technologies That Affected the Company
In 1993, at the time Frontier Communications Corporation (known then as Citizens
Utilities) was expanding, its mainstay was the 500,000 rural access lines it had acquired from
GTE. These spanned 4 states. A series of further acquisitions of access lines would help it span
Frontier would go onto acquire 4.8 million landlines from Verizon in 2009 that were
leased to private and small businesses. This deal meant that all wireline assets in the following
states were under its portfolio: Arizona, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nevada, North
Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin. The
company also acquired some Verizon telephone exchanges as part of the deal. The company
strived hard to expand the broadband coverage in the acquired regions to match those of its
Technological Changes Brought on by Frontier FiOS
The company inherited the fiber optic system developed by Verizon, FiOS as part of a
larger deal for the territories of Indiana, Oregon and Washington. FiOS was one of the more
significant technological additions to Frontier, and one that would put it on the modern
technological map in North America. The technology was difficult to integrate with the rest of
the company’s offerings at first.
A $500 installment fee was initially levied to enable transition to fiber optic systems;
monthly rates were greatly increased in other places as the company strived hard to integrate
support for the new technology. It also cancelled franchise agreements in Oregon to make ends
meet. The company finally resumed normal prices and free installments where it had pre-existing
fibre infrastructure, demonstrating the additional burdens that come with integrating a new
technology, one the company was not as familiar with either. Frontier also tried to use existing
copper infrastructure for some of the private users in the network backbone.
End User’s Perspective
From the end user’s perspective, there is a tremendous improvement in the experience
and viewing quality. This is because the signal in FiOS gets delivered over a fiber optic network,
which reduces signal losses almost completely. Verizon’s (and Frontier’s) technology relies on a
passive optical network technology which transmits voice, video and data over three separate IR
wavelengths. The user experience is improved also owing to stretching of the optical cables all
the way up to the premises of the end user.
A single mode optical fibre makes the last mile from the local terminal at the FiOS
central office to neighborhoods in the region. A single fiber is often split through a splitter into
nearly 32 fibers, serving as many customers. Losses are incurred however, because home wiring
is copper. An optical network terminal converts the mode from optical to copper in the premises
for all the services: phone, video and internet.
Even if the install was older, there would still be coaxial cable used for video and a
category 5 data cable for data. Newer customers have it much better – with using a MoCA
protocol for data and video.
The Company Position
The company’s position can be identified as a follower of industry trends in its licensing
of Verizon technology as well as its focus on maintaining existing landlines as well as acquiring
more landlines from companies like Verizon and Baby Bells. For example, in 1995, the company
bought 5000 lines in California. Previously, in 1994 it had bought over a 100000 lines from
Alltel for about $300 million. Acquisitions would continue in 1996, when the company would
buy 3600 lines in Pennsylvania and 20000 more in California from Alltel. The same year it
would buy 23000 more lines in Nevada. In 1997 it would acquire Ogden telephone. Thereafter in
1999, it would go onto buy nearly 200000 lines from GTE in the states of Illinois, Minnesota,
Nebraska and North Dakota. Their commitment to landlines continued well into the last decade,
making them a dominant player in landlines.
One of the ways the company Frontier Communications Corporation has benefitted is
that it is able to license new technologies from both of the industry behemoths, Verizon and
ATT. These technologies befall it when it usually takes on some of the far flung businesses off
their hands or some of the older business commitments by buying lines. There is a lot of
speculation that ATT is licensing its U-verse technology to the company in the near future in
larger markets such as Rochester, New York. The technology transfer specifically concerns the
fiber to the node technology (Buckley, 2012).
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