(KMAland) -- A lawmaker from Wisconsin says the likely bankruptcy of Frontier Communications highlights the challenges of rural broadband.
Representative Ron Kind, a Democrat from Wisconsin’s Third District, says complaints about Frontier led to a public meeting to find a better path forward.
“So, I convened a meeting to see what can be resolved here and how the people can get better service, better broadband connectivity in the area. Frontier basically announced then that they are going out of business, they can’t be making these investments, so we have to be looking at a plan b. Fortunately, I’ve recently been appointed to a national taskforce on rural broadband expansion. So, we’ve been having those meetings in Washington, trying to collaborate with states, trying to recognize models that have worked.”
Through those conversations, Kind says they’ve found funds available to expand rural broadband need to be managed better.
“And, I just had a meeting recently with rural electric co-op members in Missouri, that put together a very good program through the rural electrics to expand broadband connections with all of their members and throughout the countryside. The good news there is they don’t need additional money to make this, it’s just that the money that’s already in the system for rural broadband is being spent poorly and inefficiently, and we need to revamp that.”
Kind says it is vital rural communities receive quality broadband connections.
“Rural communities can’t afford to be bypassed in this global technology innovation economy. Nor will the young people stay in rural communities if they don’t have that connection. And, that’s why I think it’s vital to the survival of rural America that we create a national rural broadband plan in order to get this done, so we close any gap that still exists out there.”
Kind says there are ongoing efforts to keep service to Frontier customers in his area as the company folds.
Frontier Communications Vice President of Corporate Communications and External Affairs Javier Mendoza released the following statement:
“Frontier’s business and operations are solid and serving our customers remains our top priority. As we have said publicly, Frontier is evaluating its capital structure with an eye to reducing debt and interest expense so as to be able to better serve our customers. Our customers should expect no changes as we remain focused on providing quality communications services.”