Ziply Fiber takes over Frontier’s Northwest broadband service

The new company’s CEO has at least one tough customer — his wife, who teaches fourth graders online.

EVERETT — Harold Zeitz’s wife works at home these days, teaching fourth-graders online.

As of Friday, Zeitz is at the helm of Ziply Fiber, a new Kirkland-based telecommunications company that provides internet, phone and television services to a half-million customers in four states, including teachers who rely on home internet to keep kids online and in line.

Ziply, a subsidiary of WaveDivision, a Kirkland-based private investment company, begins operating Friday, taking over the Frontier Communications footprint in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana.

WaveDivision acquired Frontier’s Northwest division through a year-long, $1.35 billion acquisition that closed Thursday.

Zeitz will have at least one tough customer on the home front — his wife, Suzanne. The family lives in one of Frontier’s former coverage areas. She will be a Ziply customer from day one.

Nearly 500,000 former Frontier residential and business customers, including 156,000 subscribers in Snohomish, Skagit and Whatcom counties and in eastern portions of Washington, will now be served by Ziply Fiber.

Rates will remain the same, Zeitz said.

“The brand name on the bill will change, but no one’s rate is changing as part of this transaction,” he said.

The billion-dollar deal was set in motion almost a year ago when WaveDivision, which invests in telecoms around the U.S. and Canada, announced plans to buy Connecticut-based Frontier’s Northwest operations.

The deal required approvals by federal, state and local regulators. Ziply will be the only telecom that WaveDivision operates.

Frontier was one of the largest local telephone companies in the state and also provided TV and internet connectivity. Its distinctive Western Washington headquarters was in Everett at 1800 41st St.

Harold Zeitz is CEO of Ziply Fiber, which took over operations of Frontier Communications Northwest operations on Friday. (Ziply Fiber)

Harold Zeitz is CEO of Ziply Fiber, which took over operations of Frontier Communications Northwest operations on Friday. (Ziply Fiber)

“Our largest employee location will be in Everett and will remain there,” Zeitz said.

Ziply has retained 960 former Frontier employees and plans to hire another 200 throughout the network.

The company plans to invest at least $50 million to increase broadband coverage in the state and support an initiative to provide wider enhanced 911 services, according to an agreement filed with the state Utilities and Transportation Commission earlier this year.

The new telecom plans to invest $500 million, including in some rural area and small towns.

“Our current network passes about 1.7 million homes, about 30% of which can get fiber today, which delivers the fastest speeds,” Zeitz said. “Our goal is to bring fiber to over 80% of them.”

The company made some pre-investment changes in the network. As a result, Zeitz said, customers should notice faster download speeds beginning this month.

Janice Podsada; jpodsada@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3097; Twitter: JanicePods

Talk to us

More in Herald Business Journal

Relieve the pandemic coin shortage: Bust open the piggy bank

The coronavirus lockdown means less metal is in circulation. Banks and merchants are desperate for change.

Rep. Larsen tours small businesses given federal PPP loans

The congressman said leaders in Washington D.C. continue to negotiate for further COVID-19 relief.

Boeing: No orders, more cancellations for grounded 737 Max

The company has lost more than 800 net orders so far this year.

Glacier Lanes won’t be spared: Owners decide to close forever

Bowlers statewide are rallying to open venues shut by COVID rules, but this Everett business isn’t waiting.

Snohomish County PUD embraces ‘smart’ meters despite concerns

A handful of customers said they were worried about privacy, peak-hour rate increases and safety.

Marysville sues Arlington over plan for 500 apartments

Marysville worries the major project on 51st Avenue NE will gum up traffic at a nearby intersection.

Big new apartment complex anchors Broadway’s transformation

The seven-story, 140-unit Kinect @ Broadway is one of several facelifting projects in Everett’s core.

Pop into this Everett pop-up store for new vinyl records

Upper Left Records will offer albums from local bands and new pressings of classic recordings.

Everett’s new equity manager is ready to roll up her sleeves

In her new job, Kay Barnes will work to ensure that the city’s staff reflects Everett’s diversity.

Everett startup makes a swift pivot from in-person to online

Abacus links hobbyists, crafters and artists with people who want to learn new skills — virtually.

Dining in the street is now an official thing in Everett

With a free permit, businesses can expand outdoor seating to street parking areas — and fencing is provided.

FAA: Boeing pressured safety workers at S.C. aircraft plant

Federal officials are seeking to fine Boeing $1.25 million for practices related to 787 inspection oversight.