Manchin raises concerns with Frontier Communications

PARKERSBURG — A major phone company in West Virginia was encouraged by a U.S. senator to remedy problems with landline service.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., released a letter dated Tuesday to Dan McCarthy, CEO of Frontier Communications, that said safety was the priority.

“In times of crisis, no one should ever have to think twice about whether he or she will be able to call for help,” the letter said. “Unfortunately, I have been alerted of several instances where my constituents who utilize Frontier’s landline service have not been able to complete calls due to service outages.

“Contrary to what has been reported by the Federal Communication Commission, many West Virginians lack adequate access to mobile cellular coverage meaning that their landline is their only option for phone service,” the letter said. “That is why I am extremely concerned to hear that outages of your company’s landline service have become a persistent issue across West Virginia. The safety of my constituents is my highest priority and the fact that so many of them are unable to do something as basic as calling 911 for assistance is unacceptable.”

Frontier operates in 29 states and acquired the business in West Virginia in 2010 from Verizon.

The company sent a statement to the newspaper on Thursday.

“Frontier shares Sen. Manchin’s dedication to safety and takes its commitment to serve West Virginians and support 911 services seriously,” the statement said. “We work to promptly address service interruptions that occur from time-to-time because of severe weather events, vehicle accidents, third-party construction damage to our facilities and other causes.

“Frontier provides service in the most rural areas of West Virginia where other providers choose not to invest to deliver service and where the challenges of remoteness are greatest,” the statement said. “We continue to evaluate and execute strategies to improve our service and ensure our customers have access to reliable and affordable service.”

Jess Mancini can be contacted at jmancini@newsandsentinel.com.