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DSL/vectoring/G.fast

Frontier Goes All-Adtran – For Now

As it brings broadband to the 14-state rural territory acquired from Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), Frontier Communications Corp. (NYSE: FTR) will continue to depend exclusively on Adtran Inc. (Nasdaq: ADTN) for its broadband access gear needs for the foreseeable future.

This is true partly because of how Adtran has performed in the past, but also because Adtran is the only one of Frontier's four previous access gear vendors approved for use with the Verizon back-office systems Frontier still has to use. (See Adtran Lands Expanded Frontier Access Deal.)

Michael Golob, senior vice president of engineering and technology for Frontier, says his company is working hard to migrate off the Verizon back-office systems onto Frontier's systems. Operations in some states will be ready to move by the end of this year, with a staggered migration continuing into 2012.

Once it is complete, Frontier might consider adding Calix Inc. (NYSE: CALX) or another vendor back into the mix, Golob says. Frontier has previously used Adtran, Calix, Tellabs Inc. (Nasdaq: TLAB; Frankfurt: BTLA) and Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) as access vendors.

"We'll keep an open mind on that," he says.

Frontier is under the gun to bring broadband to the 14-state region because of the terms laid out by the FCC in approving the sale. It's probably under additional scrutiny because of the problems that faced Verizon's earlier sale of its New England rural turf to FairPoint Communications, which was criticized for being unprepared to deliver and maintain broadband service.

Adtran earned major points with Frontier for its support as the telco met the first FCC requirement, a major infrastructure buildout in the first 180 days after the purchase. Frontier's commitment is to bring 3 Mbits/s downstream and 1 Mbits/s upstream to 85 percent of the 14-state addition by 2013, and to increase the downstream speeds to 4 Mbit/s by 2015. (See Frontier Picks Adtran.)

The deal, which Golob says came "with very competitive pricing," includes Adtran's flagship Total Access 5000 and its fiber-to-the-node products. The TA 5000 is being used as an aggregation point as well as ADSL 2+ delivery mechanism, says Kevin Morgan, director of product marketing for Adtran.

— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading

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