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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved the transfer of 4.8 million lines in primarily rural and smaller-city areas to Frontier Communications Corp. from Verizon Communications Inc. This transaction, which includes significant deployment commitments from Frontier, will help advance the goals of the National Broadband Plan by bringing broadband to millions of consumers, small businesses and anchor institutions in 14 states across the West, Midwest and South.
The FCC issued the order after carefully reviewing the record, requesting extensive additional data from the applicants, and accepting substantial commitments offered by Frontier and Verizon to mitigate potential harms and ensure public interest benefits.
Coming one week after the final state approval for the transaction, the FCC’s order holds the applicants, Verizon and Frontier, to enforceable voluntary commitments, including the following items.
• Extend faster broadband to more Americans: Frontier will increase broadband deployment for the lines involved in this transaction, only 62 percent of which are broadband-capable today. Specifically, Frontier will deploy broadband with actual speeds of at least 3 megabits per second (Mbps) downstream to at least 85 percent of transferred lines by the end of 2013, and actual speeds of at least 4 Mbps downstream to at least 85 percent of the transferred lines by the end of 2015, with all new broadband deployment offering actual speeds of at least 1 Mbps upstream.
• Deploy fiber to libraries, hospitals and other anchor institutions: Frontier will launch an anchor institution initiative to deploy fiber to libraries, hospitals, and government buildings, particularly in unserved and underserved communities.
• Promote competition: Frontier and Verizon have made a series of commitments to protect wholesale customers, including honoring all obligations under Verizon’s current wholesale arrangements that are in effect at closing.
• Improve data quality and collection: Frontier will make available to the commission data on its broadband deployment progress at an unprecedented level of detail to enable effective monitoring of Frontier’s compliance with its commitments.
The FCC concluded that the commitments that applicants have offered, coupled with monitoring and enforcement by the FCC, will minimize the risks of harm and ensure that this transaction is in the public interest.