Frontier Communications is the largest provider of telecommunications services in West Virginia. It is a national corporation with operations in 27 states and more than 14,000 employees, nearly 2,000 of whom are employed in West Virginia. The company provides local and long-distance telephone service, broadband Internet, and digital television service.
Frontier’s origins can be traced to 1899, when the Rochester Telephone company was incorporated in New York. The company expanded its business as an independent, unaffiliated company, not part of the Bell system, and by 1959 it was the only independent phone company listed on the New York Stock Exchange. After forming subsidiaries and expanding into several other states, Frontier Corporation, a holding company, was formed in 1995. Frontier Corporation was bought by Global Crossing in 1999. Citizens Communications acquired the Frontier name in 2001 and changed its name to Frontier Communications in 2008.
In May 2009, Verizon announced that it had agreed to sell its 4.8 million landlines in 14 states to Frontier in a deal estimated at $8.6 billion. At the time, Frontier Communications had operations in 24 states and 5,400 employees. In West Virginia, consumer groups and the Communications Workers of America conducted a campaign to persuade the Public Service Commission to reject the sale, claiming that Frontier did not have the financial resources to support a large communications system. After securing guarantees that the company would fund a number of repair and maintenance items, the West Virginia Public Service Commission approved the sale on May 13, 2010. All other affected states had agreed to the sale, and the Federal Communications Commission approved the deal on May 21, 2010. Shortly after, Frontier reached an accord with the Communications Workers of America.