The West Virginia Public Service Commission (PSC) has approved the release of $8.21 million to Frontier Communications (NASDAQ: FTR) from an escrow account the company established in 2010 to expand broadband service in West Virginia.
As a condition of Frontier’s acquisition of Verizon properties in West Virginia, Frontier placed $48 million in an escrow account for broadband expansion. With PSC approval, the company has drawn down nearly $45 million of those funds.
The recently released funds reimburse Frontier for broadband-related investments the company made through 2013.
“Frontier has met and will continue to meet the commitments it made to the people of West Virginia in 2010, when it acquired Verizon markets in West Virginia and 13 other states,” Senior Vice President and General Manager Dana Waldo said. “Through 2013, we provided broadband access to 176,000 additional households in the former Verizon properties, increasing broadband access there from 62 percent of residences in July 2010 to nearly 90 percent today, and we intend to continue expanding and upgrading broadband service throughout West Virginia.”
Waldo noted that Frontier, in addition to expanding broadband, has strengthened its telephone network and improved voice services to customers. Since the acquisition of the Verizon markets in West Virginia, Frontier has invested a total of nearly $500 million in the state, he said.
“We have focused on building critical broadband infrastructure across the state, including services that businesses and critical medical, educational and government institutions require,” Waldo said.
“Our work is providing West Virginia families, communities, employers and institutions the connections they need. Through technology, schoolchildren are learning in new ways, healthcare providers are capable of managing patient care through telemedicine and businesses are realizing greater efficiencies and accessing new markets.”