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  • Wed, Oct. 12, 7:40 PM
    • Frontier Communications (FTR -3.1%) has opened its first Frontier Premier retail operations in California, looking toward building its business presence and pursuing higher customer interaction.
    • The cities of Norwalk and Pomona in southern California were chosen for the stores. Frontier has set up interactive demo stations for retail-level consumers and also will market its business solutions (including commercial phone systems) at the stores.
    • Earlier this year, Frontier acknowledge a rough go in its takeover of wireline operations it had taken over from Verizon in California, as well as in Texas and Florida. The company told a California hearing that it inherited corrupt data from Verizon, adding to struggles in the transition.
    • Also today, Frontier entered into a credit agreement for a $315M senior secured term loan, to repay its existing loan of the same type that it entered into in 2011.
    • Previously: Citi: Frontier hit from BDS rule revision better than feared (Oct. 11 2016)
    • Previously: Frontier Communications issues statement on FCC fact sheet; FTR, CTL jump (Oct. 07 2016)
    | Wed, Oct. 12, 7:40 PM | 20 Comments
  • Tue, Oct. 11, 7:47 PM
    • Frontier Communications (NYSE:FTR) jumped 6% on Friday after the FCC announced proposed rule reform on business data services, and the firm laid out the hit it would expect from rate reductions.
    • That impact on revenues -- $10M in 2017, and $20M in 2018 and 2019 -- was "materially better than feared," and $20M is like "a rounding error," says Citi's David Phipps.
    • Phipps, a credit analyst, thinks the rules are a credit positive that removes a key uncertainty for the dividend-friendly firm (10% yield).
    • On a relative value basis, Citi prefers the notes due 2021 and 2022 (or for more conservative investors, the 2020 notes).
    • "Since the equity telecom conference in early September we heard many investor concerns about how much impact BDS could have (ranging from $100 million to $400 million) ... Our view was the impact would be modest and at worst about one-year’s core sales decline. We believe the $20 million annual impact is a rounding error in FTR’s organic revenue decline (about 1.5%, or $150 million)."
    | Tue, Oct. 11, 7:47 PM | 10 Comments
  • Mon, Oct. 10, 7:08 PM
    • In a statement, UK incumbent BT Group (BT +0.4%) has praised a proposal from FCC chief Tom Wheeler to reform regulation of business data services.
    • "BT and many other stakeholders have long called for true market competition, and thanks to the chairman's leadership, we are one step closer to real reform ensuring that American businesses and consumers benefit from an innovative, thriving, and job-creating broadband economy," BT says in the statement.
    • "We look forward to learning more about the Commission's proposal and continue to encourage rules that reflect the reality of today's marketplace."
    • Frontier Communications (NYSE:FTR) had spiked 6% on Friday after news of the proposal, but gave back some gains today, falling 1.9%. CenturyLink (NYSE:CTL), which rose 3% on Friday, was up another 0.3% today.
    • After hours: BT +1.4%; FTR -0.5%; CTL flat.
    • Previously: Frontier Communications issues statement on FCC fact sheet; FTR, CTL jump (Oct. 07 2016)
    | Mon, Oct. 10, 7:08 PM | 2 Comments
  • Fri, Oct. 7, 3:18 PM
    • Frontier Communications (NYSE:FTR), up 6.3% after spiking in the past hour, has weighed in with a statement following an FCC proposal to reform regulations of business data services.
    • “While the Fact Sheet indicates less severe rate reductions than proposed by Verizon/INCOMPAS, Frontier continues to oppose these rigid rate changes mandated for all carriers without regard to the resulting impact on smaller price-cap carriers," says CEO Dan McCarthy.
    • He says the company's projected that such reductions (if they're implemented next July 1) would have a revenue impact of $10M in 2017 and $20M in 2018 and 2019. “As we have previously stated to the FCC, we intend to mitigate the potential effect of all rate reductions with incremental reductions in our expenses," McCarthy says.
    • CenturyLink (NYSE:CTL) spiked as well, and is now up 3.6% in the last hour of trading.
    • FCC proposal on business data services
    | Fri, Oct. 7, 3:18 PM | 11 Comments
  • Fri, Oct. 7, 3:04 PM
    | Fri, Oct. 7, 3:04 PM | 3 Comments
  • Mon, Oct. 3, 9:45 AM
    • September monthly performance was: 0%
    • AUM of $2.1B
    • 52-week performance vs. the S&P 500 is: +5%
    • $0.30 in dividends were paid in September
    • Top 10 Holdings as of 8/31/2016: ONEOK Inc (OKE): 2.65651%, Mattel Inc (MAT): 1.45713%, CenterPoint Energy Inc (CNP): 1.28361%, Frontier Communications Corp Class B (FTR): 1.10651%, Coach Inc (COH): 1.05319%, Macquarie Infrastructure Corp (MIC): 0.97241%, Microchip Technology Inc (MCHP): 0.92968%, CMS Energy Corp (CMS): 0.8697%, SCANA Corp (SCG): 0.85871%, The Western Union Co (WU): 0.82708%
    | Mon, Oct. 3, 9:45 AM
  • Thu, Sep. 29, 6:08 PM
    • Frontier Communications (FTR -2.1%) has cut 250 management jobs around the country, though the move shouldn't affect a planned major expansion in Durham, N.C.
    • The company had announced an expansion with 200 new jobs as part of its acquisition of Verizon assets in California, Texas and Florida, and planned a support center for Durham -- where the company was the first to offer residential fiber Internet.
    • While the company employed 250 jobs in North Carolina at the time it announced its expansion, it now says it employs 500 there.
    | Thu, Sep. 29, 6:08 PM | 16 Comments
  • Thu, Sep. 29, 10:37 AM
    • FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's proposal for new rules governing pay TV set-top boxes -- set for a vote today, but facing opposition from the industry and even a swing-vote Democrat on the panel -- has been pulled from today's meeting (now getting under way), but will stay in circulation.
    • Wheeler had changed a previous proposal and appeared to move closer to pay-TV industry wishes for an app-based approach, but still faced pushback from service providers and resistance from Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, who along with Republican Commissioners Ajit Pai and Michael O'Rielly could form the three votes to sink the proposal.
    | Thu, Sep. 29, 10:37 AM | 11 Comments
  • Mon, Sep. 19, 7:50 PM
    • The Department for Professional Employees -- a coalition of technical-worker unions affiliated with AFL-CIO -- has joined other unions in sounding off against the FCC's revised set-top box rules proposal.
    • The group criticized the "de facto" compulsory licensing scheme set up by the agency's chairman, Tom Wheeler, in order to prevent anticompetitive agreements among pay-TV providers.
    • That regime is "unacceptable and unworkable," the DPE says.
    • "The FCC does not have this authority," says Paul Almeida, the DPE's president, in a statement. "The one-sided proposal undermines the value of creative works, shrinks revenue streams that middle-class creators depend on to make a living and threatens the hard-fought wages and benefits of creative industry workers."
    • Previously: FCC Chairman: Open to changes to get set-top box rules passed (Sep. 15 2016)
    | Mon, Sep. 19, 7:50 PM | 24 Comments
  • Thu, Sep. 15, 2:20 PM
    • Speaking to the Senate, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler says he may yet change his proposal of rules to open the market for pay TV set-top boxes, set for a final vote by the commission on Sept. 29.
    • Wheeler's proposal, which focuses heavily on requiring apps from providers so that consumers can watch without costly rental boxes, had been modified already from a plan offered in January.
    • The FCC has said the set-top box market is at $20B a year, and consumers pay an average annual cost of $231 (aside from programming and service costs) for the boxes -- up 185% since 1994 while other consumer electronics have dropped 90% in price over that period.
    • Any new revisions may be targeted at the swing vote on the five-member FCC, Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, who has expressed concerns about the licensing body created by the new rules to prevent anticompetitive agreements between providers.
    | Thu, Sep. 15, 2:20 PM | 12 Comments
  • Mon, Sep. 12, 6:43 PM
    • Frontier Communications (FTR +1.8%) tonight launches its Vantage Sports Network, a local sports channel, in Connecticut.
    • The channel will feature statewide sports at the college/youth levels, both live and on tape delay. It begins tonight with Connecticut Sports Now, a half-hour highlights show, followed by a replay of a high school football game.
    • It'll appear on Vantage TV -- the former AT&T/U-verse assets that Frontier bought from AT&T in 2014. It's the company's first local sports network, but it's looking to take this model to other markets including New York state.
    | Mon, Sep. 12, 6:43 PM | 17 Comments
  • Mon, Sep. 12, 9:45 AM
    • Frontier Communications (NYSE:FTR) has named R. Perley McBride its new chief financial officer.
    • McBride succeeds John Jureller, who's heading for new opportunities but will stay on to ensure a good handoff. The move is effective today.
    • Most recently, McBride has been chief financial officer at Cable & Wireless Communications. He spent part of his career at Frontier already, though -- more than 10 years earlier on.
    • McBride will play an integral part in hitting targets at Frontier, says CEO Dan McCarthy, "including achieving adjusted free cash flow in the range of $825M to $900M in 2016, adjusted EBITDA in excess of $4B in 2017, as well as our expense synergy target of at least $1.25B.”
    | Mon, Sep. 12, 9:45 AM
  • Thu, Sep. 8, 8:42 PM
    • A new FCC draft order circulating to regulate pay TV's approach to set-top devices has left questions over just how comprehensive the changes would be.
    • Chairman Tom Wheeler's fact sheet about the rules laid out how providers would need to create apps enabling consumers to see all the content they paid for on their own devices, without paying expensive rental fees for a box. (The FCC estimates Americans spend $20B on box leasing fees that have jumped 185% since 1994, a period during which other consumer electronics have fallen 90% in price.)
    • Top pay TV providers (those serving about 95% of the subscriber population) will need to comply with the new rules within two years if they're adopted in a Sept. 29 vote.
    • As for platforms, Wheeler's fact sheet singled out Roku, iOS/Android and Windows, but any operating system with U.S. shipments of at least 5M devices qualifies to have an app written for it by providers.
    • Devices would also meet the requirement if they're already built on a qualifying platform (such as on Android).
    • Alternately, smaller device providers could strike their own deals with providers (such as with Comcast's Xfinity TV Partner Program) to get access to the apps.
    | Thu, Sep. 8, 8:42 PM | 17 Comments
  • Thu, Sep. 8, 4:22 PM
    • FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has circulated a final-rules version of his "ditch the box" proposal to open the market for pay television set-top boxes, and it's moved considerably toward an app-based approach cable providers favor.
    • "Today, I am sharing with FCC colleagues a plan to end the set-top box stranglehold and monthly rental fees," Wheeler says in presenting the new order, which he says simplifies the original proposal while still fulfilling Congress' mandate to the agency to ensure consumers can use preferred devices to access programming they've paid for.
    • Keys to the new order: Providers will have to offer a free app for subscribers to access all the programming they pay for on a variety of devices, "including tablets, smartphones, gaming systems, streaming devices or smart TVs." And consumers won't be forced to pay monthly rental fees for a box. Providers will also have to make their apps available to popular platforms including Roku, iOS/Android and Windows.
    • Also, the rules force providers to allow consumers to search content in one place whether it comes from the provider, over-the-top services or a programmer's stand-alone app, with no discrimination allowed.
    • Copyright and licensing are protected as providers will oversee end-to-end content delivery with control over their apps, Wheeler says.
    • The FCC will vote on the new order Sept. 29; if it's adopted, the biggest pay-TV providers (covering 95% of subscribers) will have two years to comply.
    • Pay TV players: CMCSA -0.3%, CHTR -3.2%, CVC/OTCPK:OTCPK:ATCEY, T -0.2%, DISH +1.6%, VZ -0.2%, FTR +0.9%, CTL -0.2%
    | Thu, Sep. 8, 4:22 PM | 34 Comments
  • Tue, Sep. 6, 11:20 AM
    • August monthly performance was: -0.6%
    • AUM of $2.06B
    • 52-week performance vs. the S&P 500 is: +5%
    • $0.21 in dividends were paid in August
    • Top 10 Holdings as of 7/29/2016: ONEOK Inc (OKE): 2.51645%, Mattel Inc (MAT): 1.45532%, CenterPoint Energy Inc (CNP): 1.35453%, Frontier Communications Corp Class B (FTR): 1.23381%, Coach Inc (COH): 1.17484%, CMS Energy Corp (CMS): 0.92805%, Macquarie Infrastructure Corp (MIC): 0.92426%, SCANA Corp (SCG): 0.9029%, Microchip Technology Inc (MCHP): 0.82578%, The AES Corp (AES): 0.82339%
    | Tue, Sep. 6, 11:20 AM
  • Fri, Aug. 19, 1:03 PM
    • The FCC has gathered a "strike force" of companies in telecommunications and technology to try to put an end to the "scourge" of unsolicited automated phone calls.
    • The agency holds its first meeting today with its "Robocall Strike Force," a coalition that includes AT&T (NYSE:T), Verizon (NYSE:VZ), T-Mobile (NASDAQ:TMUS), Frontier Communications (NASDAQ:FTR) and Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) along with tech partners in Alphabet, Apple, and Microsoft -- more than 30 companies in all.
    • AT&T chief Randall Stephenson is serving as the group's chairman. It will provide a report by Oct. 19 on how to get new tools and solutions into consumers' hands.
    • Currently, the FCC doesn't require providers to offer blocking and filtering tools for robocalls, but has strongly urged them to make tools available for free to customers.
    • "It's vital that carriers move quickly to offer robocall blocking tools," Wheeler says. "This scourge must stop."
    | Fri, Aug. 19, 1:03 PM | 53 Comments