Frontier targets 100K fiber passings in West Virginia

Frontier Communications’ multi-year fiber expansion roadmap calls for it to ramp deployments to hit 1.6 million new passings in 2023 and it looks like a decent chunk of those will be in West Virginia. The operator unveiled plans to invest $100 million to hit 100,000 additional locations in the state this year alone.

Rollouts will focus on a number of towns including Elkins, Fairmont, Grafton, Hinton, Logan, Nitro, Princeton, St. Albans, Weirton and Woodsdale. The new passings will build on the more than 125,000 Frontier has already built in the state over the past two years. Existing areas of coverage include Beckley, Bluefield, Charleston, Clarksburg, Falling Waters, Huntington, Hurricane, Inwood, Kanawha City, Morgantown, Parkersburg, Scott Depot and Wheeling.

In July 2022, Frontier won $1.7 million in grant funding from West Virginia to reach just under 3,000 locations in Mason and Boone Counties there. At the time it promised $5.4 million in matching funds to get the projects done.

The operator noted in a press release its 2023 expansion plan will add to, rather than include, the grant passings. None of the target cities it announced Thursday are in the counties covered by its grant funding. Other operators working in West Virginia include Altice USA, Comcast, Shenandoah Telecommunications (Shentel) and Citynet.

Back in 2020, Frontier also won $247.6 million to cover 79,391 passings in West Virginia in the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) auction, though it subsequently sought to relinquish a handful of the census blocks where it won funding.

Though Frontier is striving to reach 10 million locations with fiber by 2025, it hasn’t shed much light on where work is underway other than to say it is building in more than a dozen states.

Fierce’s attempts to track down some of its non-grant activity in October 2022 showed deployment plans spanning California, Indiana, Illinois, Texas and New York. That month the operator also stated it was aiming to reach 300,000 new passings in Connecticut by 2025.

West Virginia aside, other states where it has won grants include California, Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. It also appears poised to score funding in Michigan.