Harold Zeitz, CEO of Ziply Fiber (Courtesy/Ziply Fiber).

Over 3,000 residents in Marion and Polk counties have a new provider for internet, phone and television services who promises to increase speed and reliability.

The $1.35 billion sale of bankrupt Frontier Communications to the newly created Ziply Fiber was finalized on Friday, May 1. The transaction means that nearly 500,000 of Frontier’s residential and business internet, phone and television subscribers in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana are now Ziply Fiber customers.

Of those, about 3,000 are in the eastern portion of Marion County in the Stayton area and less than 100 in the northeast corner of Polk County.

“Our top priority is expanding capacity and quality of our network to benefit our customers,” Harold Zeitz, Ziply Fiber CEO said in an interview.

Ziply Fiber is headquartered in Kirkland, Washington. The company was formed by former executives at AT&T, CenturyLink and Wave Broadband and focused on acquiring telecommunications assets in the Northwest.

Most have either grown up in the Northwest or have lived in the region for decades, according to press materials.

“We expect that right away that it will be easier to get a hold of us and will be immediately more responsive,” Zeitz said of the changes customers should notice.

The bigger differences will come after upgrades are installed.

The company raised $2 billion for the acquisition and set aside $500 million for network improvements. Zeitz said that many of the upgrades will improve service for small towns and rural areas in the Northwest that have been overlooked by national internet providers.

He said that much of the network Ziply Fiber is taking over from Frontier Communications was designed primarily for television and telephone connections and that the upgrades are aimed at creating a network that’s built for the internet.

In addition to upgrading equipment on the company’s core network, Ziply Fiber intends to add lots of fiber internet. According to company press materials, fiber technology uses small, flexible strands of glass encased in a protective sleeve, known as a fiber-optic cable, to provide internet service at the speed of light.

Zeitz said that currently 30% of its business and residential customers have access to fiber and there are plans to increase that to 85% over three years.

“As we build fiber, we're actually going to overlay the existing network,” he said.

While the company plans to make large investments, Zeitz doesn’t expect to raise rates.

“We're going get so many more customers, so that’s how we’re going to grow the business,” he said. “We're nearly tripling where we have fiber and we're going to have the best network and we're going to be a different kind of company.”

Contact reporter Jake Thomas at 503-575-1251 or [email protected] or @jakethomas2009.