KIRKLAND — WaveDivision, a Kirkland-based private investment firm, expects to take over Frontier Communications’ Northwest operations in April, closing a billion-dollar deal.
The new company, which will continue to offer television, internet and telephone services, will be called Ziply Fiber, said the company’s CEO, Harold Zeitz.
“The brand name on the bill will change, but they’ll be no disruption in service,” Zeitz said. “We expect to close as early as the end of April.”
The $1.35 billion deal was set in motion last May when WaveDivision, which invests in telecoms around the U.S. and Canada, announced plans to buy Frontier’s operations in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana.
In Washington, Frontier serves about 156,000 residential and business customers in Snohomish, Skagit and Whatcom counties and eastern portions of the state, according to the Washington Public Utilities and Transportation Commission. It serves another 194,000 in Oregon, Idaho and Montana.
The deal has received all required approvals from federal, state and local regulators.
The changeover comes as people everywhere are more dependent than ever on internet. In the midst of a nationwide quarantine to slow transmission of COVID-19, local and national businesses, governments and schools have moved more work online.
“There will be a smooth transition,” Zeitz said. “We realize how important the internet is, and even more important in these days and times. We’ve gone to great lengths to see that there is no disruption.
Frontier is one of the largest local telephone companies in the state and also provides TV and internet connectivity. Its Western Washington headquarters is in Everett.
“Our largest employee location will be in Everett and will remain there,” Zeitz said.
Ziply plans to invest at least $50 million in the state to increase broadband coverage and support a statewide initiative to provide enhanced 911 services, according to an agreement filed with the state utilities commission.
WaveDivision has invested in telecom companies throughout North America, but Ziply “will be the only one we operate,” Zeitz said.
Before becoming Ziply’s new CEO, Zeitz served as president and chief operating officer of Wave Broadband, founded by Steve Weed. The West Coast internet provider was sold in 2018 for $2.3 billion. Weed is CEO of WaveDivision, Ziply’s parent. Ziply’s corporate headquarters will be in Kirkland.
Janice Podsada; email@example.com; 425-339-3097; Twitter: JanicePods