HUNTINGTON — The West Virginia Public Service Commission said Wednesday it will ensure no services will be interrupted after Frontier Communications filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this week.
Frontier Communications also stressed that the company is not going out of business. Instead, the bankruptcy filing will place it in a position for long-term success, the company told the PSC.
On Tuesday, Frontier West Virginia Inc., Citizens Telecommunications Co. of West Virginia, Frontier Communications of America Inc., Frontier Online & Long Distance Inc., Frontier Communications Corp. and all other affiliates filed a petition under Chapter 11 of the bankruptcy code in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.
The filing followed months of rumors that the telecommunications company was seeking bankruptcy protection, having met with advisers and creditors in January to discuss negotiating a financial-turnaround deal that includes a plan to reduce its $17.5 billion debt load.
In a news release Wednesday, PSC Chairwoman Charlotte Lane said the company assured the commission that the filing will not lead to the disruption of services or lead to higher rates.
“The Company stated in a letter to the Commission that the Chapter 11 filing will not interrupt any service to residential, business or wholesale consumers; will not impact Frontier’s ability to provide voice or data service in the state; and will not impact Frontier’s provision of 911 services throughout its service territory,” Lane said. “The Company further stated the Chapter 11 filing will not result in a change to the rates or terms of service provided to customers or offered to prospective customers in the normal course of business.”
Chapter 11 is a form of bankruptcy in which a company reorganizes its business affairs, debts and assets. Named after the U.S. bankruptcy Code 11, corporations generally file Chapter 11 if they require time to restructure their debts.
“All Frontier customers need to know that the bankruptcy filing will not affect their service,” Lane said. “The Commission will be closely monitoring this proceeding to ensure that West Virginians will not see any disruption of service.”
Frontier has established a website with more information on the Chapter 11 process at frontierrestructuring.com.
Bob Elek, director of public relations for Frontier Communications’ South Region, said the Norwalk, Connecticut-based company serves approximately 300,000 of the 2.26 million voice customers in the state, including customers in the most costly and difficult-to-serve areas. The company employs more than 1,000 workers in West Virginia.
Frontier also provides telecommunication services in 28 other states.