Frontier Communications increases speed of Internet

Part of $160M settlement with state of West Virginia

PARKERSBURG — Frontier Communications has increased Internet speeds for 43 percent of customers impacted by a $160 million settlement with West Virginia, the state attorney general said.

Frontier entered into a settlement to resolve complaints about internet speeds provided to its customers.

The agreement, announced in December 2015, marked the largest, independently negotiated consumer protection settlement in West Virginia history, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said.

“This agreement continues to deliver improved connectivity for thousands of West Virginians, however significant work remains,” Morrisey said. “My office will continue to monitor Frontier’s progress to ensure compliance with the settlement’s terms for the advancement of West Virginia.”

The agreement requires Frontier to invest at least $150 million in capital expenditures to increase Internet speeds across West Virginia and lower monthly rates for affected consumers.

Frontier, to date, has spent $93.3 million in capital expenditures, funds which the company reports has increased internet speeds to 11,836 customers throughout West Virginia, according to the company’s most recent quarterly report filed with the Attorney General’s Office.

The Attorney General’s Office between 2013 and 2015 received complaints from customers paying for Frontier’s high-speed service, which advertised Internet speeds up to 6 megabits per second.

Many consumers advised their Frontier service was slow or did not meet expectations. The subsequent investigation found many customers expecting Internet speeds “up to 6 Mbps” frequently received speeds 1.5 Mbps or lower.

Frontier denied any allegation of wrongdoing and entered into the settlement to resolve disputed claims without the necessity of protracted and expensive litigation.

The settlement specifically required Frontier to invest $150 million, in addition to its $180 million in planned upgrades as part of the federal government’s Connect America Fund II program.

The discounted monthly rate set bills for approximately 27,500 affected customers at $9.99 — a reduction expected to cost Frontier $6.25 million per year, which will shrink with time as the discount remains in effect until mandated improvements allow Frontier to increase existing download speeds.

Those with further questions can contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 800-368-8808 or visit the office online at http://www.wvago.gov.

In an unrelated broadband announcement, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., has encouraged residents to take the West Virginia Speed Test hosted by the Broadband Enhancement Council, part of the Capito Connect plan.

“Is your internet connection up to speed? To create more opportunities for the next generation of West Virginians, I am leading the charge to bring internet service to our state, and we are making real progress through my Capito Connect plan,” said Capito.

“In order to solve this problem, we need to know how your service lines up — and that’s why I’m urging all West Virginians to take the West Virginia Speed Test. By participating, you will help improve access to reliable and affordable broadband.”

West Virginians can test their Internet service at https://broadband.wv.gov/Home/SpeedTest.

The senator also is encouraging West Virginians to share their results by email to capitoconnect@capito.senate.gov or at one of her offices in West Virginia.

COMMENTS