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Frontier expands broadband access in West Virginia

June 11, 2012|By RICHARD F. BELISLE | richardb@herald-mail.com

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. — Since 2010, when Frontier Communications assumed landline phone service from Verizon, about 96 percent of West Virginia households and businesses, including those in the Eastern Panhandle, have enjoyed broadband Internet access, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin said Monday.

Manchin, D-W.Va., joined Frontier officials at a brief press conference at the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center in Shepherdstown to explain how Frontier expanded broadband across the state.

Paul Espinosa, area general manager for Frontier, said the company continues to bring the faster Internet service to Berkeley County areas that previously lacked it.

It is now available in Martinsburg on Rock Cliff Drive, Tavern Road, Gloucester Drive, Harris Way, Artisan Way and neighboring areas, he said.

“We have expanded our network since July 2010 statewide to provide broadband access to thousands of additional households, including, in the last month, about 1,500 more in Berkeley County,” Espinosa said.

Some outlying parts in the Panhandle, such as the mountainous Riverside area near the Jefferson County/Virginia line, are still without service because of the cost of extending fiber-optic lines to the area, he said.

Espinosa said some rural areas in Morgan County remain without service, but the town of Paw Paw, W.Va., on the western edge of the county, has full broadband service.

Manchin said once Frontier acquired Verizon properties in 14 states, including West Virginia, there was no doubt that broadband high-speed Internet service would reach into the state’s rural regions.

He said the transition to Frontier from Verizon, which wanted to get out of landline telephone service, “started in 2008 when I was governor.”

He said “two pots of money, $310 million from Frontier and $126 million in federal stimulus funds, (are) being spent bringing broadband access across West Virginia.”

In 2010, 62 percent of West Virginia households in the state had access.

Frontier Communications has nearly 2,300 employees in West Virginia and operates in nine local markets. Nationwide, it operates in 27 states with nearly 15,500 employees.

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