Last week, Frontier Communications Corporation (NYSE: FTR) chairman and CEO Maggie Wilderotter came to Statesboro as part of a plan to visit each of Frontier's properties and its employees.
Frontier has changed quite a bit since Wilderotter visited Statesboro in 2007. The company tripled in size in July 2010 when it acquired Verizon's local exchange businesses in 14 states. Its market cap is now $6.3 billion, and its CEO one of the most powerful, and recognized women in business.
Fortune magazine included her in its ranking of the “50 Most Powerful Women in Business” in 2009 (#50) and 2010 (#40) and 2011 (#37). In October 2010, President Barack Obama announced Wilderotter’s appointment as Vice Chair of the President’s National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee. She also serves on the boards of Xerox Corporation and Procter & Gamble Co.
As with her last visit, Wilderotter took time out to visit with me to talk about Frontier and the ever evolving telecommunications business.
"We were thrilled with the Verizon transaction, because it was a transformational transaction for us," she said. "We picked up the land line business in their rural markets. They had quit investing in those markets, and they had been neglected for the last five to seven years. About 50 percent of the customers in those markets had no access to broadband, and we felt like we could come in and build the broadband network out, and provide them with multiple services."
Wilderotter was very frank about the role of traditional telephone lines and their place in today's society.
"The way we look at it is there is a very high percentage of our customers in rural America who still rely on their land line phone as their lifeline — as a reliable service that they can have at their home," she said. "We bundle the landline products with high speed internet and video, so the customer is getting all three services for a discount price. The customer can make a choice, if they don't want to take the land line service, they can still have high speed service and video. We are also starting to roll out more wireless products. We are the leading provider of Wi-Fi services in the United States"
Wilderotter said whatever the customer wants for voice, video, and data, she wants Frontier to be that provider of choice, and is positioning the company to do so with the continued roll out of new products and services.
"We are very excited about the new products that we have launched in this market including Metro E and Second Connect," she said. "Second Connect is a second line in the house which is great for families, particularly if you are trying to work, and someone is streaming video."
Wilderotter said trips to markets such as Statesboro are very important, and are not taken lightly.
"This market is a terrific market for us here, and coming here gives me a sense for what is happening in the market, what our customers care about, what our employees care about, are we focused on the right priorities, do we have the right products and services for each individual market, which helps me make good strategy decisions over the next three to five years," Wilderotter said.
Frontier Communications Corporation is the nation’s largest provider of communications services focused on rural America. Frontier’s 15,200 employees are 100 percent U.S.-based.
So, until next Tuesday, I bid you au revoir.
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