PUC public hearing on Frontier – the frustration of a community held hostage by a broadband provider

Last night I attended the Public Utilities Commission meeting taking comments from frustrated Frontier customers. This is one of several meetings the PUC is having across the state. There were about 100 people in attendance. The meeting when from 6:00 until after 9:00. People spoke passionately.

The point that most people made was their frustration at having one choice. Most were in the position where there were no other broadband providers that reached their homes. And it sounds like the service is slow (often less that 1 Mbps) and unreliable. Someone mentioned their connection had cut out 75 times in a 24-hour span. Most were disappointed with customer service and billing issues.

One person mentioned that they opted for satellite instead of Frontier – but they were unhappy with satellite as well. Some used mobile hotspots when they really needed to get online. But others mentioned that hotspots were even an option because they leave/work in a cell dead zone.

People were frustrated because they couldn’t work from home. They could run credit cards in their small businesses. Kids couldn’t do homework. It took 5 hours to watch a movie on Netflix due to buffering. Other were worried because the phone went out when the internet went out – and again many were in cell dead zones. They worried about what they would do in case of emergency. How could they make a call to 911?

Living in the Cities, it’s easy to think that everyone has access. But the videos of this meeting are here as a reminder that not everyone does – and often it’s not their choice.

The PUC is accepting written comments until October 3, 2018.

This entry was posted in Conferences, MN, Vendors by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (blandinonbroadband.org), hosts a radio show on MN music (mostlyminnesota.com), supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota (elimstrongtowershelters.org) and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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