Frontier’s CEO says its copper network poses no health or environmental risk

Aug. 7, 2023
Frontier finds only a small number of lead-sheathed cables remaining in its copper network.

Frontier, the fourth largest ILEC that grew out of various acquisitions, says that the existing lead-sheathed cable networks in its network pose no threats in its service territories.

Nick Jeffery, CEO and president at Frontier Communications told investors during its second-quarter earnings call that while it could provide additional details, it would continue to evaluate its copper network and work with workforce and environmental regulators as needed.

“First and foremost, we deeply care about the health and safety of our people, customers, and the communities we serve,” he said. “Our policy has always been to comply with all environmental and occupational safety regulations, and we have no reason to believe that lead in Frontier cable has called any health or environmental harm.”

Frontier is the latest telco to respond to a recent article series spearheaded by the Wall Street Journal on the presence of lead-sheathed copper cables in the largest telecom networks.

The lead copper cable issue came to light after an investigative series published by the Wall Street Journal revealed the presence of 2,000 lead cables across the country. According to the report, several abandoned lines run through or under rivers, streams, and lakes that serve as community drinking water sources. What’s more, the report found the presence of these cables in local neighborhoods, playgrounds, and greenways where children may be exposed to them.

Fellow telcos AT&T, Verizon and Lumen emphasized that they are separately working to determine the number of lead cables in their networks with internal and outside experts. These telcos said that they don’t believe the cables pose any health risks to their workforce or people in the communities they serve.

Likewise, Frontier said that lead-clad copper cables comprise a tiny part of its copper network. “Based on our internal evaluation, we wanted to provide an update on our initial assessment,” said Jeffery. “And while these results are still preliminary, based on our analysis, we estimate that lead-clad cables represent a single-digit percentage of the roughly 685,000 total miles of metallic cabling in our network.”