CHARLESTON (AP) — Frontier Communications says it has exceeded state-mandated goals to improve local service in West Virginia.
The Public Service Commission required the improvements when it approved Frontier’s takeover of Verizon’s landline operations in the state in 2010.
The requirements included investing nearly $280 million to improve service and increase broadband deployment by the end of 2013. The PSC also required Frontier to ensure that at least 85 percent of former Verizon households have broadband access by the end of 2014.
Frontier said 88 percent of the households have broadband access, up from 62 percent when it acquired the network. Customer complaints have dropped by nearly 70 percent.
Frontier provided an update on the former Verizon operations in a recent annual report to the PSC, the Charleston Daily Mail reported.
“Frontier has invested more than $370 million in West Virginia since it acquired the Verizon markets, and our ongoing work here has resulted in dramatic improvements in broadband service availability and telephone service,” Dana Waldo, Frontier’s general manager for West Virginia, said in a news release.
Customer service requests have dropped from 68 percent from the year before the takeover to 2013, from 1,446 to 460.
“Our broadband expansion and our favorable trend in service quality are directly attributable to Frontier meeting and exceeding the commitments it made to the people of West Virginia in 2010,” Waldo said.
Frontier has completed a 2,600-mile fiber-optic transport network designed to provide high-capacity broadband service, improved telephone service quality and voice over Internet protocol capabilities, he said.
The company also has increased its number of Ethernet switches, which allow businesses to create high-speed communications networks, from nine to more than 150.
“We are proud to have created essential infrastructure that will allow existing companies to grow and new businesses to locate and expand in West Virginia,” Waldo said. “We believe our network opens the doors to numerous economic development opportunities and diversification of the state’s economy.”
Frontier also serves most of the state’s 911 centers, he said.
The company is negotiating a new contract with 1,600 West Virginia employees who are members of the Communications Workers of America. The old contract has been extended three times since it expired in August 2013.