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The Communications Workers of America (CWA) Calls for the FCC to Reject Legislators’ Efforts to Block Rural Broadband Funding to Frontier

WEST VIRGINIA -- Today, Communications Workers of America (CWA) District 2-13 Vice President Ed Mooney sent a letter to the FCC urging the Commission to reject WV legislators’ ill-advised efforts to block Frontier Communications’ successful bid to receive rural broadband funding from the FCC’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF).

CWA represents about 1,200 Frontier employees in West Virginia and 8,000 nationwide.

“CWA members at Frontier have led the way in exposing how the company’s previous leadership’s failures to invest in broadband infrastructure — especially cutting hundreds of technician jobs across the state — have led to problems with service quality and availability for West Virginians,” Mooney said. “While CWA supports oversight to ensure that federal funding is going directly to broadband deployment, Frontier is a major broadband provider in West Virginia and is fully capable of deploying service to additional locations. It would be unrealistic to achieve large scale build-out in the state without Frontier.”

In the letter, Mooney refutes the legislators’ assertions that Frontier’s recent Chapter 11 bankruptcy should be a cause of concern, pointing out that Frontier’s reorganization under Chapter 11 will reduce its debt obligation by over $10 billion and its annual interest expense by $1 billion and put Frontier on stronger financial footing to invest in broadband deployment. In addition, the proposed December 18, 2020 Joint Settlement to resolve the WV PSC’s review of the bankruptcy restructuring imposes meaningful commitments on Frontier that will lead to large-scale upgrade of the Frontier plant in West Virginia. 

“Based on what we’ve seen from the company’s commitments in the proposed PSC settlement, and with a new CEO starting in March who in his role at Vodafone UK placed emphasis on large scale fiber deployment as the future of broadband, we are optimistic that the company has significantly improved its financial situation and is well-positioned to play a integral role in upgrading and expanding West Virginians’ broadband networks,” Mooney said.

Read the letter here.

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