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Exiting bankruptcy, Frontier looks to challenge cable

Frontier Communications named John Stratton, a former Verizon executive, as its new executive chairman. Stratton will work with Frontier CEO Bernard Han – himself a former Dish Network executive – to chart Frontier's path out of bankruptcy.

Frontier expects to emerge from bankruptcy early next year, thanks to the elimination of more than $10 billion in debt.

As reported by the Wall Street Journal, Stratton plans to direct Frontier to focus on the sale of broadband services against cable operators that are still mostly focused on bundling Internet services with pay-TV options.

Frontier famously purchased extensive fiber operations from Verizon in 2016, when Stratton was Verizon's president of operations. But Frontier's poor customer service and high prices cut into the company's business, forcing it into bankruptcy in April.

"The business is challenged by a brand that has been under fire because of some of those failings," Stratton told the WSJ. "We can do better."

Whether Frontier can cut into the cable industry's successes remains to be seen. According to Leichtman Research Group, the nation's top cable operators tacked on about 1.4 million broadband customers in the second quarter, while telco providers like AT&T, Verizon, CenturyLink and Frontier collectively lost around 156,000 customers during that period.

The WSJ reported that Frontier's management team, including Stratton, will be suitably motivated in their efforts: The company set aside roughly $200 million for executives' post-bankruptcy incentives.

Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading | @mikeddano

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