News tagged: Frontier Communications
Just days ago, Frontier Communications proudly let everyone know
that they had expanded broadband access to roughly 176,000 households in West Virginia and seen consumer complaints of their service drop by nearly 70 percent. That's slightly-less impressive once you realize that Verizon was doing little to nothing
to support those users, so you'd expect a significant reduction in complaints even if the acquiring company was doing the absolute bare minimum.
According to a report that Frontier recently filed
with the West Virginia Public Service Commission, the company said that it has expanded broadband access to over 88 percent of the state's households. Frontier also made it a point to tell the local newspapers that Frontier spent around $370 million in “fiber and Ethernet” upgrades
. (By the way, did that figure include the millions that Frontier got from the Federal Government from the Connect America Fund Phrase I
? Frontier did not say)
Sounds great, right? Except now we know that Frontier expanded their internet service by giving customers the least amount of service possible, even if it didn’t meet the internet speed requirements of the West Virginia PSC.
In a recent report by the Charleston Gazette
, less than one of three West Virginians who took an online survey last year had an Internet speed that met the state's minimum standard for broadband service.
Frontier Communications, West Virginia's largest Internet provider, had the slowest broadband speeds, according to the online survey. Frontier also was the only Internet provider whose average speed didn't meet West Virginia's minimum broadband standard.
The FCC today voted unanimously to begin conducting voluntary trials to ensure a relatively smooth and reasonable transition away from the PSTN and copper networks. The push for such trials began in earnest after Verizon refused to repair the DSL and copper POTS lines of hurricane Sandy victims, instead forcing them to instead use an inferior wireless-based product
known as VoiceLink, which doesn't work with alarm systems, has numerous glitches, and doesn't provide data connectivity.
Frontier spent $8.5 billion in 2010 for Verizon’s DSL and landline customers, and is close to spending another $2 billion for AT&T’s Connecticut DSL and landline customers. As Karl noted several weeks ago, Frontier seems intent on growing just to grow
, without much concern for customer support scaling or being able to upgrade aging DSL lines.
Wall Street isn't exactly sure that Frontier's acquisition of AT&T's Connecticut operations, announced yesterday
, is a particularly good idea. One, the landline is dying.
Frontier Communications has announced that the company will be buying AT&T's fixed-line networks in Connecticut in a deal estimated to be worth around $2 billion. According to the companies' press release
, the deal will involve all AT&T residential (both DSL and U-Verse), commercial and wholesale customers in Connecticut.
Frontier Communications executive Dana Waldo stormed out of a public meeting at the West Virginia Capitol on Wednesday, after he was asked if Frontier's broadband technology would provide households with basic DSL speeds in Tyler County, West Virginia. Waldo got angry while Council members were reviewing grant applications from a Frontier competitor that plans to bring broadband service to Tyler County. story continues..
According to Frontier Communications earnings report
, the company added 26,800 new broadband customers last month, and 84,500 new net broadband customers in the last nine months -- in large part thanks to a new "$20" DSL promotion being run by the company. As noted in March when it launched
, the $20 deal requires you sign up for a $30 to $40 copper POTS line you may not actually want.
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has announced that Frontier Communications will help build a $1.5 million 1 Gbps network that will serve homes, schools and businesses in Southern Illinois. According to a statement from the governor's office
, the build will be a collaborative effort between Frontier, the City of Carbondale, Southern Illinois University and Connect SI.
Time Warner Cable's recent decision to hike customer prices, then impose a fee hike on modem rental for the third time in a year continues to result in the national press belatedly realizing the company benefits from too little competition
. However, what little competition there is for Time Warner Cable is trying to take advantage of this outrage, Frontier Communications running ads in upstate New York
lambasting Time Warner Cable and pretending that Frontier users won't see rate hikes:
Frontier Communications is making the most out of the cable company rate increases with a new “Goodbye Time Warner” ad campaign. It is pitching $19.99 broadband price-locked for two years — an improvement over its earlier offers thanks to a major reduction in sneaky fine print. Customers can get up to 6Mbps service at the special offer price as long as they keep a Frontier landline active with a qualifying calling package.
Frontier is traditionally to healthy broadband competition as Lindsay Lohan is to good acting and healthy living, so really many customers are simply choosing the lesser of two evils. Frontier's price point may sound nice, but they're forcing you to bundle a landline you probably don't want in order to get it, a forced-bundling practice consumer advocates have been fighting to eliminate for a decade.
Comcast VP of public policy Rebecca Arbogast informed attendees of a Free State Foundation conference this week that the "alleged failing and falling state of U.S. broadband" is "based on misunderstood and misused statistics." According to Arbogast, the claim that the United States is 22nd in broadband is effectively a lie, used by critics to unfairly attack what is secretly a top ranked broadband infrastructure. Arbogast went on to argue that comparing the United States to markets in Asia is "silly at best" and that those criticizing United States broadband are just engaging in "hand wringing
(Arbogast said) the absolute price of broadband was essentially flat while speeds increase 900%. She pointed out that over the same time the cost of college has increased 72%.
New Frontier customers can now order DSL services for $20 a month -- with a catch. According to a company statement
, users can get that price locked in for three years with no contract or installation fees -- if
users sign up for a traditional copper landline phone account that's surely to add $30 to $40 in over-priced voice services (and fees) on top of that original price tag. Such "price lock" promises traditionally aren't worth it, as you can usually get a lower rate through negotiations over time. The deal fine print
(pdf) notes the speed you get is 6 Mbps, but they fail to note the upstream speed. Users can double that speed for $10 more -- though you have to be in an area where Frontier has upgraded to offer those speeds.
Back in 2011 the FCC began collecting real-world user broadband data from customized routers, then issuing reports on which ISPs were failing to deliver advertised speeds. It's one of the few FCC policies in recent years that has truly paid dividends for consumers. story continues..
It has been about half a decade now that I've been pointing out that most of the meters used by ISPs to track and bill consumers for usage aren't accurate. Customers of Canadian cable operator Cogeco have long complained the company's meter is inaccurate when users can load it at all
, and every so often the meter simply goes mad -- like last Spring when the meter was horribly confused by leap year
We've noted several times how Verizon's sale of their DSL and landline assets to Fairpoint and Frontier was strategically brilliant (unless you're one of the impacted customers). Not only did Verizon sell both companies millions of neglected customers and lines they didn't want to maintain or upgrade, the deals offloaded huge amounts of Verizon debt onto these companies (driving Fairpoint into bankruptcy
) while netting Verizon a huge tax write off.
Netflix has once again ranked the best ISPs for streaming content. According to this Netflix blog post
, the company's rankings come from 30 million members viewing over 1 billion hours of Netflix each month.
Two new J.D. Power and Associates studies note that customers on pricier cable tiers claim they're more satisfied, while DSL users complain their connections aren't keeping pace with modern household bandwidth demands. story continues..
While Verizon is busy cozying up to Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Cox Communications, Frontier Communications has struck a similar deal with AT&T. According to a Frontier press release
, Frontier Communications will be bundling AT&T wireless services in a select number of markets: parts of Minneapolis; Everett, Kirkland and Bothell, Washington; and Orange County, New York. The press release doesn't say why users should bundle AT&T services instead of just buying AT&T services standalone, and the company didn't respond to our request for comment inquiring if there's any discounts for bundling (meaning there probably isn't). Users will see a unified bill and get "free" access to AT&T's network of 29,000 Wi-Fi hotspots.
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