Frontier Seeking Permission to Bring Digital Video to Middletown

The company is talking to other OC municipalities as well
July 8, 2016 Updated: July 8, 2016

MIDDLETOWN—Frontier Communications is expanding into the digital video market in New York and its first stop is Middletown.

The company approached the city in May about providing digital video and television services in the city, and are in the process of working out a contract. On July 5, the city held a public hearing on Frontier’s proposal.

The company, which has offices on John Street, already provides internet and phone service, and contracts with DISH Network, Inc. to provide cable TV.

Vantage TV is Frontier’s new digital television platform and it has already started to roll it out in some of the other 28 states it operates in.

It uses Ericsson’s Mediaroom software and includes features like on-demand movies and TV shows, access to Netflix and Amazon Prime, the ability to record up to 6 channels at a time, and live streaming.

Frontier says Vantage TV will include standard, high, and ultra high definition video.

Senior Vice President and General Manager of Frontier’s New York operations, Elena Kilpatrick, said customers who have DISH through Frontier will not see a change in their service.

“If they decide to terminate their DISH service, we’ll be happy to take them on as Vantage customer [though],” she said.

Vantage works through a customer’s existing internet cables, although Frontier must be the internet provider for someone to take advantage of the new digital video option. If a customer gets internet through Time Warner Cable, for example, they will have to switch.

Content is streamed into a customer’s home or building via an internet cable to a central set top box, which will then send the signal to up to three other set top boxes via WiFi.

Frontier’s application says its on-demand video library has more than 100,000 movies and TV shows.

Kilpatrick said she doesn’t know yet how many channels they will be able to provide, but said they would be carrying public access channels, or PEGs, like Channel 20 and 23, although the numbers may not be the same.

Vantage will be available to about 75 percent of the city at the initial roll out, and Frontier expects it will expand to the rest of the city as the market dictates.

They stress that there will be no disturbance from construction because they are using existing infrastructure.

“We will not have to go out and tear up streets or disturb right-of-ways to provide service,” said Frontier’s Director of Governmental and External Affairs, Jack Phillips at the hearing.

The news of Frontier’s expansion was, by and large, well-received at the hearing, and not just because the city is getting a 5 percent franchise fee from it.

“They’re not replacing Time Warner [Cable], they’re going to be competing with Time Warner,” Mayor Joseph DeStefano said after the hearing. “I think the competition will be great for city residents.”

In addition to Middletown, Kilpatrick said they are looking at expanding to other areas in Orange County, and have been in talks with leaders in Port Jervis, Deerpark, the Villages and Towns of Goshen and Monroe, and others, she said.

“We believe that providing a competitive product in markets that have not had additional cable providers will be beneficial to consumers and the marketplace, and also beneficial to Frontier,” Kilpatrick said.

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