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Frontier Communications has rocky first day in Tampa Bay market (and Texas and California)

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Friday was Frontier Communications‘ big day: At midnight, it took over Verizon Communications landline business.

It was a rocky start.

Customers throughout the Tampa Bay area, as well as in Texas and California, reported problems Friday morning and continued to do so even after Frontier said the problem had been fixed.

Frontier spokesman Bob Elek said there were a couple of different events that led to the problems. One was a fiber cut that had nothing to do with the transition itself from Verizon FIOS to Frontier. The other was a technical issue between the transition that affected customers “in a very wide area.”

Reports of problems began at 7:50 a.m. Eastern time; service was restored at about 9:30 a.m.

However, customers continued to complain about problems after that time.

“I’m hearing some sporadic reports with broadband outages, ” Elek told FloridaPolitics.com just after 1 p.m. Friday. He said it was hard to sort out those issues since Frontier was not seeing any widespread problem.

Frontier officials had crossed their fingers that the transition would be smoother to no avail.

The Frontier fiber lines pass through about 2 million households and 230,000 business locations in Pinellas, Pasco, Hillsborough, Polk and Sarasota counties.

The sale between Frontier and Verizon occurred last year in a  $10.54 billion deal. It transfers Verizon’s traditional telephone lines in three states, including Texas, to Frontier. With the asset transfer, Frontier doubled in size, adding customers who use Verizon’s FIOS fiber-optic service.

Frontier executives had been quoted in local publications in recent weeks as intending for the transition to be “seamless and unnoticeable.”

That hasn’t been the case.

“It’s a very massive bit of work that’s being done between data that’s being transferred, network information, (and the) networks themselves,” Elek said, adding that the company knew a seamless transition was probably not realistic.

“We certainly didn’t expect the problem that was happening that affected their states either,” he admitted. “The good news there was that once we knew what the issue was, it was able to be repaired in a pretty quick time.”

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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