The Washington Utilities and Telecommunications Commission (WUTC) staff has weighed in on the Frontier-Verizon deal, and they’re urging state regulators to oppose it. “There may not be any way for Frontier to provide benefits to Washington customers that offset the financial harm and operational risks,” said commission staff in their written testimony. “The failure of the companies to offer adequate consumer benefits or protections puts customers at risk of being served by a company without enough financial strength to make necessary improvements to local telephone facilities and widen deployment of broadband access.” Call it the FairPoint effect.
The WUTC has three commissioners who vote to formally approve or oppose Frontier’s acquisition of Verizon wireline assets in Washington. Hearings are scheduled to begin in Washington on December 15th. California, Nevada and South Carolina all recently gave their blessing for the deal. Opposition to the deal has come from interests in West Virginia and Ohio. The deal has also been approved by Frontier shareholders. Frontier says the deal is on track to close in 2Q10.