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News tagged: Frontier Communications


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by Karl Bode 02:56PM Wednesday Jul 23 2014
While Verizon's legal victory over the FCC did gut the agency's net neutrality rules, it kept some of the FCC's authority over ISPs intact -- specifically the agency's transparency rules -- which require that ISPs be straightforward about the "network management practices, performance, and commercial terms" of their broadband services.

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In a statement issued today, the FCC "reminded" wireline and wireless ISPs alike that those rules are still intact and need to be adhered to, lest the agency lightly slap a wrist or two -- maybe.

"Consumers deserve to get the broadband service they pay for," FCC boss Tom Wheeler said in a statement. "After today, no broadband provider can claim they didn’t know we were watching to see that they disclose accurate information about the services they provide."

"We expect providers to be fully transparent about the details of their services, and we will hold them accountable if they fall down on this obligation to consumers," continues Wheeler.

Will they? The transparency rules Wheeler mentions are also supposed to govern pricing, requiring that ISPs are transparent about monthly pricing and various fees tacked on to user broadband bills.

Yet as I've noted numerous times over the last decade, ISPs consistently are allowed to bury all manner of nonsensical fees below the line, allowing them to covertly jack up consumer broadband bills while leaving the advertised price the same. This is technically false advertising, but I've never seen the FCC (or any other regulator) seriously address the practice.

The practice not only fools consumers into paying more for service, it skews telecom policy debate and discussion.
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by Karl Bode 12:07PM Thursday Jun 19 2014
Last June Comcast announced that the company's new customer gateways would be configured to start sharing user Wi-Fi with local passers by, noting that the service could be disabled and that other peoples' usage wouldn't count against your usage cap. Still, as Comcast launches this service in a market-by-market basis consumers in each market have responded with more than a little trepidation at the concept of their router having a public component.
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by Karl Bode 11:02AM Tuesday May 27 2014
Frontier Communications wants to keep selling you landlines, but many users no longer have an interest in them. Frontier's solution? The company is introducing a new $5 (plus fees) a month landline option that will give consumers the reliability of a landline during power outages, but will only be able to dial 411, 911 or the operator. "Our [service areas] are very prone to severe weather, lots of hurricanes, tornadoes and the mud slides in Washington State," Frontier CEO Maggie Wilderotter stated at a recent investor conference. "We have markets that are very plagued by bad weather and having a landline phone that works when your power goes out where we have a density of 34 homes a mile is important."

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by Karl Bode 02:28PM Thursday May 08 2014
Frontier will be raising the price of their standalone DSL service by $5 starting on May first, and will also soon be raising prices for the company's remaining FiOS video customers (who they already worked hard to scare away with rate hikes). "We increased the price [... because it] better reflects the value of that offering, given the robust capability of our network and comparable pricing from our competitors,” Frontier CEO Maggie Wilderotter told Wall Street analysts on a quarterly results conference call. Many Frontier customers, still stuck on sub 3-6 Mbps DSL lines for the foreseeable future, could take issue with Frontier's use of the phrase "robust capability."

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by Karl Bode 04:28PM Wednesday Apr 30 2014
For years the FCC has doled out money to telcos to help them expand telecom services, historically then being quite lax in accurately tracking how (or even if) that money was spent. Companies like Frontier have also taken oodles of funds on the state level for broadband deployment, and in West Virginia Frontier faced a recent scandal after the telco was accused of using taxpayer money on useless, over-priced consultants and over-priced fiber builds that didn't help anyone not named Frontier.

Now Frontier is balking at a recent FCC rule change for Connect America funding that raised the minimum acceptable deployment metric from 4 to 10 Mbps if you want taxpayer money to help fund your DSL upgrades. Frontier, however, insists offering 10 Mbps simply isn't possible:
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"Any proposal to raise the CAF Phase II minimum speed obligations of broadband used for CAF Phase II from 4 Mbps download/1 Mbps upload (4/1/) to 10 Mbps download without any increase in funding or other change in terms is not economically feasible," wrote Kathleen Abernathy, executive vice president of External Affairs for Frontier, in a recent FCC filing. "The FCC's own USF budget does not provide adequate funding for a 10 Mbps ubiquitous deployment."
Perhaps if the FCC and state governments audited Frontier's history with taxpayer funds they might be able to help Frontier come up with the funding they need? Frontier faces little competition in the lion's share of their markets, allowing the company to historically overcharge for slow service and lag on needed network upgrades.

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by Karl Bode 02:31PM Monday Mar 10 2014
Netflix has released the company's latest month rankings of ISP Netflix streaming performance. Not too surprisingly, the results show that Comcast Netflix streaming performance has improved two spots after Comcast and Netflix last month struck a new interconnection agreement that eliminated middlemen like Cogent Communications from their transit routes.
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by Bill Neilson 01:48PM Thursday Feb 20 2014
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.
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by Karl Bode 12:22PM Thursday Jan 30 2014
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.
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by Bill Neilson 08:41AM Wednesday Jan 29 2014
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.
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by Karl Bode 10:37AM Wednesday Dec 18 2013
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.
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by Karl Bode 10:03AM Tuesday Dec 17 2013
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.
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by Bill Neilson 09:10AM Friday Dec 06 2013
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.
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by Karl Bode 08:30AM Monday Nov 25 2013
We've explored just how corrupt and dysfunctional West Virginia has been when it came to spending their $126.3 million in broadband stimulus funds. Local Charleston Gazette reporter Eric Eyre has been doing an absolutely fantastic job the last few years, highlighting how Verizon, Frontier and Cisco convinced the state to buy ridiculously overpriced, overpowered and unused routers, and ridiculously overpaid, redundant consultants who haven't actually accomplished anything.
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by Karl Bode 02:25PM Thursday Nov 07 2013
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.
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by Karl Bode 08:41AM Wednesday Oct 02 2013
Thanks to FiOS, Verizon has taken top honors in the JD Power and Associates "2013 U.S. Residential Internet Service Provider Satisfaction Study" in the East, West and South regions, while WOW! (Wide Open West) scored the best among all ISPs in the North Central region.
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by Karl Bode 09:26AM Thursday Aug 29 2013
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.
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by Karl Bode 08:46AM Wednesday Aug 07 2013
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:
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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.

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by Karl Bode 03:09PM Wednesday Jun 19 2013
We've explored just how corrupt and dysfunctional West Virginia has been when it came to spending their $126.3 million in broadband stimulus funds. Local Charleston Gazette reporter Eric Eyre has been doing an absolutely fantastic job the last few years, highlighting how Verizon, Frontier and Cisco convinced the state to buy ridiculously overpriced, overpowered and unused routers, and ridiculously overpaid, redundant consultants who haven't actually accomplished anything.
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by Karl Bode 12:33PM Friday Mar 22 2013
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":
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(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%.
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by Karl Bode 08:30AM Wednesday Feb 27 2013
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.

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