AT&T Strikes Network Deal with Frontier Communications

AT&T logo on Whitacre Tower
(Image credit: AT&T)

AT&T has struck a deal with Frontier Communications to expand its fiber network offerings to enterprise customers while adding fiber capacity from the smaller carrier that will help it boost its 5G mobile network.

AT&T, which is in the process of offloading the media assets it spent billions of dollars accumulating over the past five years, has said it is refocusing its efforts toward its fiber network and 5G offerings. The telecom giant already plans to reach about 2.5 million incremental customer locations with fiber by the end of this year and 30 million locations by the end of 2025. The Frontier deal apparently will help to close the "last mile" gap for many of these customer locations -- AT&T said that across the country, more than nine million business customer locations are within 1,000 feet of its fiber network. 

Frontier, which emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this year, has embarked on an aggressive fiber buildout -- dubbed Build Gigabit America -- and plans to make fiber available to 600,000 locations by the end of 2021, expanding to pass around 10 million locations by the end of 2025.

"We're bringing together two complementary networks to benefit business customers that require fiber-optic connectivity," said Mike Shippey, Frontier executive VP of business and wholesale, in a press release. "As part of this deal, we'll use our expanding fiber network to provide AT&T high-speed connections for large enterprise customers and the expansion of its 5G mobile network across our markets."

The agreement, AT&T said, will enable the telecom giant to reach additional locations more quickly through the Frontier fiber network, and together the two companies will bring high-speed connectivity to enterprise customers within Frontier's 25-state footprint.

"With Frontier building out its own fiber network where we are not building, we'll be able to work together to provide large business customers with the high-speed, low-latency data connectivity they need to grow and thrive," said Scott Mair, AT&T network engineering and operations president, in a press release. "As demand for broadband connectivity grows, we will be able to plug and play into Frontier's network to support businesses and help grow our 5G mobility network for consumers."

Mike Farrell

Mike Farrell is senior content producer, finance for Multichannel News/B+C, covering finance, operations and M&A at cable operators and networks across the industry. He joined Multichannel News in September 1998 and has written about major deals and top players in the business ever since. He also writes the On The Money blog, offering deeper dives into a wide variety of topics including, retransmission consent, regional sports networks,and streaming video. In 2015 he won the Jesse H. Neal Award for Best Profile, an in-depth look at the Syfy Network’s Sharknado franchise and its impact on the industry.