In the midst of our shared anxiety about Frontier’s broadband service, which I consider to be a serious problem affecting the future of our community and State, let’s try to put the matter into perspective while we search for solutions.
As I write today, the value of Frontier stock is at $2.51 and has been as low as $1.81 in the past 52-week range. Five years ago the stock was more than $106 a share. Then, it paid a dividend. Today, it pays nothing.
Simply put, Frontier Communications’ corporate value is in serious trouble. I think this is partly due to the fact that when Frontier purchased the landline phone system in West Virginia it bought a dying technology which today has been replaced by cell phones and broadband. Fortunately, it does retain the copper wire connection to most every house.
Complaints about no or bad service and poor internet speeds should not be directed at those men and women working at Frontier every day, doing their very best with few resources available to them. I have personally found their work to be exemplary.
New, advanced equipment to enhance county internet access and reliability all cost money, which I fear Frontier does not have to spend or will not spend in our small usage market – where profit returns are marginal and new out-reach technology expensive.
To my thinking, parity of West Virginia in broadband and cell phone service has become essential to our State’s success.
Our legislature needs to put this problem on the same front burner as education, roads and healthcare.
Cell phone and broadband have taken on the stature of a public utility necessity. West Virginia must act using every financial and political resource. We have built roads, created public schools, enabled rural electrification with political will; surely we can have a reliable and modern internet and cell phone system, as well – not because it would be nice to have, but because it is a must to have.