Frontier details $800 million fiber optic internet plan for CT

Frontier Communications officials expect to spend $800 million in Connecticut through the 2025 as part of the Norwalk-based company’s continued roll out of fiber optic cable to provide ultra high speed internet service to homes and businesses across the state.

John Harrobin, Frontier’s head of consumer products, said Wednesday that the company’s expenditure is one of the largest private infrastructure build outs in Connecticut history. The expenditure covers a five-year period began in late 2020, Harrobin said.

“We hope to enter 2026 with 90 percent of customers having access to fiber optic cable,” he said. “We just surpassed bringing fiber past 500,000 homes and we plan to have it installed past 800,000 homes by 2025.”

The company isn’t saying how many residential or business customers it has signed up for fiber optic service but is now available in 70 communities across Connecticut. That includes cities like Hartford, Norwalk, and Bridgeport, suburbs such as West Hartford, North Haven, and Glastonbury as well as in rural areas like Union and Stafford Springs.

North Haven Mayor Mike Freda said Frontier “has been an outstanding partner,” as the company rolls out fiber optic service in the town.

“Their communication on the integration of this new fiber broadband here has been exceptional,” Freda said. “We look forward to all of the opportunities that this new infrastructure will offer the people of North Haven.”

Lon Seidman is an Essex businessman who has his own YouTube channel where he reviews technology products. He recently did a review of Frontier’s fiber optic service when his father signed up for the company’s 500 megabit per second offering in his Westbrook home.

“They’re being very aggressive in marketing it,” Seidman said. “They offered to come out and install it the same day they called him asking if he wanted the service. They are upping their game because they see there is significant competition out there now.”

When Frontier emerged from a year-long stint in Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April 2021, the company’s strategy was to go all in on providing fiber optic service.

The company’s singular focus on fiber optic service seems to have come at the expense of other products. For example, though Frontier still provides a cable television offering, it no longer actively promotes it to new customers, according to Harrobin.

Instead, the company has partnered with streaming services like YouTube TV and DirectTV Stream, he said.

“Streaming is where the future is,” Harrobin said. “Cable television has built a great business. But if we just replicate their service, we’re not serving our customers.”

Frontier fiber optic customers who sign up with the company’s streaming partners get special incentives that wouldn’t receive otherwise, he said.

“YouTube TV’s base rate is $64.99 a month,” Harrobin said. “Frontier customers get $10 a month off that price for the first year of service.”

Jeff Kagan, a Georgia-based independent telecommunications analyst, said Frontier singular focus on fiber optic service isn’t necessarily a sound business strategy.

“It could be enough, but it’s not going to put them in the fast lane in terms of growth,” Kagan said. “They’re kind of boxing themselves into this smaller arena.”

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