Verizon, AT&T, Sprint to pay FiberTower workers amid company shutdown

Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ), AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T), Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) and other carriers have worked together to pool money to raise the salaries of workers at FiberTower in a bid to avoid service disruptions from the shutdown of the backhaul provider.

According to a Dow Jones Newswires report, which cited bankruptcy court documents, the Tier 1 carriers and others have come together to raise more than $600,000 to increase the salaries of remaining FiberTower workers. The report noted that the salary payments need to be approved by FiberTower's bankruptcy judge.

"There is a very real and significant possibility that the majority of the [the company's] employees will promptly leave to find employment elsewhere, with businesses that are on-going," said FiberTower bankruptcy attorney Jason Brookner in papers filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Fort Worth, Texas. "Were that to happen, the [company] could be rendered paralyzed during a period when the institutional knowledge and services of [its] employees are critical."

In November, FiberTower told the FCC it would shutter most of its operations after the agency terminated its spectrum license and a $22.5 million bankruptcy sale of its operations fell apart. Wireless carriers used FiberTower to route calls, video and other data traffic from cell towers to switching stations and onto FiberTower's network of 118,000 miles of fiber cables.

FiberTower filed for bankruptcy protection in mid-July and had 57 employees at that time. It is unclear how many or which employees will receive the salary bumps from the money pooled by the carriers.

Before it filed for bankruptcy protection FiberTower said it was losing about $180,000 in revenue per month. The company had been losing business from Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR), a key client, and other carriers that cut back on using FiberTower amid disputes with the FCC about its service and spectrum holdings.

For more:
- see this Dow Jones Newswires article

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