On May 22, 2020, Frontier Communications filed an application to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to transfer the control of its California companies, restructure its ownership, and resolve over $17 billion owed to major financial institutions. Frontier offers broadband, video, phone and other services and is one of the two largest Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers (ILECs) in California, servicing 45 counties. California law requires the CPUC to authorize large electrical, gas or telephone corporation restructurings, mergers and acquisitions and determine if it is, among other things, in the best interest of ratepayers, would not stymie competition, would improve quality of service, and would be beneficial overall to the state and local economies.
In the next month, the CPUC is poised to vote on a Proposed Decision with Settlement Agreements and approve Frontier Communications corporate restructuring so the company can exit Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The Proposed Decision seeks to condition the corporate restructuring based on a variety of operational, financial, service, pricing, and employment matters thus necessitating a Compliance Monitor, funded by Frontier, to assist the CPUC with future enforcement efforts. Further, tribal and local governments will be given a “right of first offer” to purchase property that Frontier proposes to sell or dispose of. Also, Frontier will be able to retain its Carrier of Last Resort status.