Hartford, CT – Attorney General William Tong today urged the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority to deny a change of ownership sought by Frontier Communications. In a brief filed today, Attorney General Tong raised concerns regarding the lack of transparency around the new ownership, and a complete lack of commitment to date to Connecticut’s consumers and workforce.
Frontier—currently in bankruptcy—is seeking to shed more than $10 billion in debt and obligations through bankruptcy, followed by the appointment of a new board of directors. The corporation has asserted the change would be “imperceptible” to its consumers, yet it has failed make any commitments to its Connecticut consumers or workforce, or even identify the new post-restructuring management or directors. They have made no commitments to maintain Frontier’s corporate headquarters in Connecticut, or to any ongoing investment in Connecticut operations.
“The entire transaction presents substantial risks to Connecticut, including a loss of local control, loss of capital investment, and degradations in the quality of service. The petitioners have not met their burden of demonstrating the new management’s suitability to provide safe, adequate or reliable service to the public. In fact, they have not even identified who that management might be. This failure is compounded by the absence of any commitments whatsoever to protect the interests of Connecticut customers or with any demonstration that the transaction is in the public interest,” Attorney General Tong argues in the brief.
Frontier acquired Southern New England Telephone Company (SNET) in 2014. In the years since that acquisition, the Office of the Attorney General and Department of Consumer Protection have received well over 1,000 consumer complaints regarding excessive charges, poor service quality and unsatisfactory customer service. The Office of the Attorney General and DCP are currently investigating the company for possible violations of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act.
Assistant Attorneys General Lauren Bidra, John Wright and Consumer Protection Department Head Michael Wertheimer are assisting the Attorney General in this matter.