Minnesota regulators vote to continue monitoring Frontier’s investment plans

Representatives from CWA and IBEW, which represent Frontier technicians in Minnesota, testified at a recent Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MNPUC) hearing over Frontier’s “virtual separation” investment plans in Minnesota. The MNPUC opened this investigation at CWA’s urging following approval of Frontier’s bankruptcy-related restructuring to seek assurance that Frontier had a plan to sufficiently invest in the Minnesota network to ensure the long-term viability and resiliency of critical telecommunications services for Minnesota customers. Other state regulatory agencies that approved Frontier’s restructuring had similar concerns and sought binding investment commitments to assure that service would be adequate. 

“Everyday I see the impact of Frontier’s lack of investment in Minnesota among my members,” said Carson Turnquist, CWA Local 7270 President. “We have spoken to this commission before about the refusal of Frontier to bring on sufficient new staff to replace technicians that have retired or quit.”

In April 2022, Frontier announced new staff reductions across Minnesota. For CWA, this reduction will apply to a group of technicians that perform installation and repair functions for customers. “In 2019, CWA represented 100 Frontier members in Minnesota,” said Dan Reynolds, CWA Assistant Director of Research. “That number has been cut by a third to 66 just in the last two years.” 

At the April 14, 2022 hearing, the MNPUC voted to close the virtual separation docket but expanded the reporting requirements on Frontier’s investments, staffing, and resources under the currently open service quality docket. The final MNPUC order has not yet been published. 

Links:

Agenda MTGTHURSDAY, APRIL 14, 2022, 10AM (Minnesota PUC, Apr. 14, 2022)

CWA and TURN ask FCC to examine Frontier’s proposed bankruptcy plan (Speed Matters, Aug. 20, 2022)