This fall the PUC held a number of public meetings about the service at Frontier. I went to one. People were passionately amgry about the services they received. MPR recently published an article on Fronteir service in Ceylon in Southern Minnesota; another town where people are angry…
You would expect to look up to see Frontier Communications telephone lines in the town of Ceylon, neatly swaying from traditional wood utility poles.
But in parts of town, look down. There they are — black cables snaking through the grass.
“There’s three lines there, that are just laying across the ground,” said John Gibeau, a Ceylon City Council member. “And they run down for probably another 60 yards.”
He gives Frontier’s work on this telephone line project a failing grade. It looks like the cables were successfully laid out, but that’s it. They’ve never been buried or attached to a telephone pole.
It sounds like the network is patchworked at best…
Gibeau points out one line draped across a propane gas tank. When the cable reaches a street, it’s elevated so that vehicles don’t run over it. But not to a telephone pole. Instead the line is supported by the overhead branches.
“It elevates up into the tree that is now acting as a Frontier telephone pole,” Gibeau said. “And so it goes up over the tree, and to the next tree across the street. Through a bunch of branches which isn’t safe. And this here actually has been this way for almost three years.”
Gibeau said one resident worried about severing a Frontier cable with a lawnmower moved the line from the grass into a flower bed for safety. Another attached a line to a post to get it off the ground. Gibeau said town officials have repeatedly asked Frontier to fix the problems, but so far nothing has happened.
And the problem is that without good broadband resdients are losing money and opportunity…
“If we don’t have proper internet, you can kiss these small towns goodbye,” Gibeau said.
Just how important good communication lines are was demonstrated by another testifier at the Slayton hearing. Last summer a construction crew severed the Frontier cable that serves Dale Burkhardt’s southern Minnesota farm. He said it hasn’t been fixed yet.
“I still don’t have a landline, I don’t have an internet,” Burkhardt said. “I’m getting a little fed up.”
During the summer he runs a crop-spraying service. He estimates he’s lost about $10,000 in business because customers can’t reach him.