Washington State OKs Frontier-Verizon Deal

Washington is the latest state to approve Verizon’s planned sale of wireline operations to Frontier Communications. The state’s Utilities and Transportation Commission gave the deal the go-ahead on Friday.

“Frontier looks forward to introducing its products and customer-first service to Washingtonians,” said Dan McCarthy, executive vice president and COO of Frontier. “We believe that access to broadband is connected to good jobs, education, health care, public safety and quality of life. We are committed to extending broadband reach and penetration, to offering value-added phone, video and Internet products and services, and to operating FiOS in 18 municipalities in the state.”

Approval to transfer control of local cable TV franchises to Frontier for the FiOS markets in Washington was received in January 2010, subject to meeting certain conditions of such approvals.

Washington is the seventh state to approve the transaction, joining Oregon, Arizona, Ohio, Nevada, South Carolina and California. In Oregon, Frontier received all necessary approvals from authorities required to transfer control of local cable TV franchises to Frontier, subject to meeting certain conditions of such approvals.

But the deal still needs approval in a pair of battleground states — Illinois and West Virginia. In recent weeks, an Illinois judge recommended that regulators in the Land of Lincoln not approve the deal. West Virginia, where thousands have signed a petition asking for blockage of the sale, is probably the most contentious of all. Labor unions, who are backing the opponents, say a Frontier-Verizon deal would hurt customers because Frontier might have to shoulder too much debt to properly manage its network and customer-service obligations. Both companies have said that’s simply not true.

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