Telecom Industry Layoffs in 2017: AT&T and Comcast Workers Faced Severe Reductions

Telecom Industry Layoffs in 2017

Thousands of Jobs Lost in Telecommunications Sector

Thousands of jobs were claimed via telecom industry layoffs in 2017. At industry giants and smaller players across the country, U.S. telecommunications industry job cuts were widespread, affecting workers of all stripes. From the AT&T layoffs to the Comcast layoffs, the industry as a whole found itself in need of severe workforce reductions for a variety of reasons.

Overall, the telecommunication industry job cuts in 2017 impacted thousands of workers, and some of the layoffs are likely to roll over into 2018.

AT&T Cut Roughly 1,100 Workers in 2017

One of the biggest job cuts in the telecom industry this year took place at AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T). The telecommunications giant shed about 1,100 employees in a number of different positions—both at its main company and at its subsidiaries.

The AT&T layoffs in 2017 included the closing of three call centers in the U.S., leaving dozens of people without jobs with each subsequent closure. In El Paso and Richardson, Texas,  and in Detroit, Michigan, nearly 400 people were cut when all was said and done.


Meanwhile, DirectTV layoffs accounted for one of the single largest rounds of telecom industry layoffs in 2017. In late December, just before the holidays, over 700 people were laid off by the company, which is owned by AT&T.

“We continue to align our workforce with the changing needs of the business. This includes some premises technician jobs,” said a company spokesperson.

One of the main drivers for the massive DirecTV layoffs is the increasing number of cord-cutting Americans. That is, people are eschewing cable TV and are instead turning to streaming services and other alternatives for their viewing pleasures.

The AT&T call center closings, meanwhile, were part of restructuring plans and were likely made as cost-cutting measures.

Restructuring Led to About 400 Job Cuts at Comcast in 2017

Not to be outdone, another telecom giant, Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ:CMCSA), implemented hundreds of layoffs in 2017. The Comcast layoffs in 2017 saw about 400 people stripped of their jobs as part of the company’s restructuring plan.

The Comcast restructuring project mainly impacted sales representatives in several regions of the United States. These telecom industry layoffs in 2017 were motivated by more people signing up for services online, and therefore reducing the need for call center employees.

In June, 88 employees were shed from a Comcast warehouse operations center. In August, around 72 job cuts were made at the company’s suburban Detroit warehouse.

In October, around 200 people were cut from its Oak Brook, Illinois, facility. Other jobs were cut in the Chicago, Illinois area and in Hobart, Indiana. At that time, Comcast spokesman Jack Segal said the positions “will be consolidated into other inbound sales units in locations throughout our central division.”

Frontier Communications Eliminated 306 Jobs in 2017

The telecom industry layoffs in 2017 did not end there; the Norwalk, Connecticut-based Frontier Communications Corp (NASDAQ:FTR) was not spared. The Frontier Communications layoffs saw over 300 people lose their jobs this year.

The company shed 108 unionized workers in Connecticut. Frontier Communications buyouts were offered to senior employees in a variety of roles. The company began the process of cutting employees in November, with an announcement that there would be 1,000 layoffs company-wide.

The broadband provider also closed a call center in Weldon Spring, Missouri, letting go 141 employees. Another 57 people found themselves without work when a dispatch center in Beaverton, Oregon was shuttered.

Windstream Holdings Made About 200 Job Cuts in 2017

Windstream Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:WIN) made cuts of varying degrees of severity to its workforce throughout the year. The Windstream job cuts were part of cost-cutting and restructuring measures.

One round of layoffs saw 11 jobs cut from its Hiawatha, Iowa office, in an effort to consolidate business units. The Little Rock, Arkansas-based company then shed an additional 24 people in Rochester, New York. The layoffs affected workers in a variety positions. Another 164 jobs were also cut as part of the Windstream layoffs in 2017, with 25 of those job losses happening in Arkansas.

CenturyLink Made about 165 Job Cuts after Acquiring Level 3 Communications

CenturyLink Inc (NYSE:CTL) made around 165 telecommunications industry job cuts in 2017. The CenturyLink layoffs in 2017 came as the company acquired Level 3 Communications, LLC. The Louisiana-based telecommunications company pushed those layoffs through after its merger in November.

Alaska Communications to Lay Off About 30 Employees

Alaska Communications Systems Group Inc (NASDAQ:ALSK) is the final addition to our list of telecom industry layoffs in 2017. The Anchorage, Alaska-based company laid off around 30 employees, or five percent of its workforce. The specifics regarding the location of the cuts and the positions of those affected have yet to be released.

A driver of these Alaska Communications layoffs is the reduced state and federal government funding the company receives. This led to the Alaska Communication job cuts as the company seeks to reduce costs, with wages being the largest operating expense.


Frontier closing St. Charles County call center, laying off 141,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, August 19, 2017.

Frontier Communications cutting 108 jobs through buyouts,” New Haven Register, February 8, 2017.

Frontier laying off 57 workers in Beaverton,” KGW, February 10, 2017.

Windstream cuts 11 Hiawatha jobs,” The Gazette, November 10, 2017.

Two dozen layoffs at Windstream in Rochester,” WXXI News, September 27, 2017.

Little Rock-based Windstream lays off 164 workers,” Times Record, January 24, 2017.