Frontier ready to up the broadband stakes in Illinois

Frontier Communications (NYSE: FTR) is planning to spend $40 million or more over the next 12 months to expand broadband service to Illinois communities--many of them rural--and bring new competition to incumbent Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA).

Frontier is facing a gap-filled Illinois subscriber base when it comes to broadband. The telco bought 4.8 million landlines across 14 states from Verizon (NYSE: VZ) and, at least in Illinois, found that service is not always available outside metro areas.

The company is "working with our engineering teams in each of these markets on where we do need to extend broadband," said Maggie Wilderotter, Frontier's chairman-CEO. Broadband throughout Illinois is an iffy proposition, with between 35 and 40 percent of the population still unserved, she said. "And they really want it. It really is a high priority in the minds of our customers, which is why it's our high priority."

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