Frontier, a terrible company, is going bankrupt

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/01/20/schadentelco.html

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If these companies insist on driving themselves into bankruptcy, then municipalising them becomes much cheaper, without a shareholder class to compensate.

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Unfortunately, they’re filing for the type of bankruptcy that lets them keep operating (Chapter 11), just cancels or drastically reduces their debt. So the garbage government protected monopoly gets to keep being a garbage monopoly and raking in the money - they just don’t have to pay for their past mistakes. Being a corporation means having all the rights and benefits and none of responsibilities.

There is a small chance that a Chapter 11 will be converted to a Chapter 7 (liquidation) by the court, so that’s probably the best you can hope for.

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Frontier fiber customer here. Yeah, they suck so bad they make me miss the days when Verizon ran the show. They overcharge and under deliver. We can’t even get fucking CBS here because of their pissing match with the affiliate owner here (yet we still pay the same amount - funny how that works).

About the only good thing I can say is we get the Internet speeds they promise and we’re not capped for usage.

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For a cable/isp company to lose money as a monopoly, somebody has got to be walking away with it. They have a (internet-era) literal license to print money.

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$17.3 billion of debt (as of 2019 September) makes for some big interest payments.

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Minnesota here. Frontier had a reputation twenty years ago in the rural north – “It’s all you can get.” (I was living in the Twin Cities at the time, didn’t affect me. But I have friends up north.)

Today the reputation is “Frontier is gone-to-Hell terrible, completely absolutely terrible”, even the local paper here in Ely, where I moved recently, says so. (Paper didn’t say “Hell”, that’s my gloss.)

Happily, MIDCO is delivering good reliable service in Ely, so Frontier can go die.

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I’ve had Frontier ever since Verizon dumped it’s FIOS customers here in CA and vamoosed it. Seems Frontier had no idea how bad Verizon’s infrastructure was, and didn’t have the capacity to improve it. Ironically, I haven’t had any technical issues with my FIOS connection, compared to my mom’s Spectrum connection which requires her router to be reset every 3 days.

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I’ve never seen accelerationism applied to telecommunications law before but by god the math checks out

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Too big to fail. Ha Ha Ha Ha, I had to say it…

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Frontier’s customer service is worse than Comcast’s by a good margin. Let that sink in for a moment… o.O’

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Verizon is run by dickbags and their customer service is awful, but they know how to build a network. You put up with the abuse because FiOS just works. Frontier doesn’t even have that. They just suck at everything. If there was any competition they would have been crushed years ago.

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I tried to get my service upgraded but to no avail. Frontier put no money into updating their internet infrastructure. It actually took them several weeks to figure out they couldn’t deliver more than 7Mb down / less than 1Mb up. They also had some rural customers that they just ignored until they went away. Unfortunately that left Comcast Business for better speed but the connection speeds varied all the time. I had a lot initial problems until I found all the idiotic mistakes the “installer “ screwed up like wrong ethernet cables, failure to set DNS etc. The installer was beyond clueless. They refunded me 2 months of service charges after I had it all fixed on my own.

Finally we got MetroNet they blow away anything from Comcast. I now have 100Mb/100Mb a very stable connection for less than half of what Comcast charged for a crappy connection.

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Were they bought by some private equity assholes recently? (Looters prey on the just and the unjust) Or was the original management paying outsized dividends and bonuses? What exactly did they do with the MONEY that they borrowed and can’t/don’t want to repay?

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I used to live in an urban area where a small business ISP started also serving downtown residents.
I enjoyed unusually high speeds at reasonable cost, which was a breath of fresh air after a prior decade of Comcast and Qwest misery.

Recently, I’ve moved to a suburb where the only choices are Frontier and Comcast. With the Comcast pain in my background, I naturally looked toward Frontier first. I slowly realized that it was possible to be worse than Comcast. Mercifully, Frontier was so bad even at customer acquisition that I was unable to sign up before I figured out what a mistake it would have been.

So I’m trapped with Comcast once again.

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We contacted Frontier about the report of its bankruptcy plan and will update this story if we get a response.

I love that kind of snark.

Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana for $1.35B. A drop in the bucket compared to their debts.

Trying to sell off California, Texas and Florida in 2018.

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Those are all good questions, and I don’t know how to go about finding the answers.

Googling around did lead me to this, from 2015: Frontier Communications inks $6.6B high yield bond offering; terms. $6.6 billion at interest rates from 8.875-11% (!), with the stated goal being “Proceeds will be used to fund the acquisition of Verizon’s wireline operations in Florida, Texas, and California.”

That looks to me like a Hail Mary grow-or-die-trying play.

Hm. They bought Verizon’s Florida, Texas, and California assets in 2015 with very expensive money, and by 2018, they were trying to unload it. Either they massively miscalculated, or they looted the Verizon assets and needed to drop the hot potato, or the purchase was misdirection and the real money went to the bond holders.

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Funny, when I called to cancel my Frontier internet and cable service, the dude on the other end of the phone started arguing with me that there is no competition for Frontier, daring me to quit. Yeah, good thing we have Spectrum, AT&T, and some way overpriced outfit known as Hughes Net. So, I guess he was right, because I really don’t see a clear winner here, folks.

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