MN PUC report on Frontier is out based on public meetings held throughout the summer (2018)

Over the summer, the PUC held several meetings across Minnesota to hear from Frontier customers about their services. (I attended the meeting in Wyoming if you want to see the notes of video from the meeting.)  The Judge holding the meetings recently released his report. If includes more than 150 public comments from the meetings.

The report notes that there was some discussion on whether to ask costumers about both telecommunications and internet services since the PUC only regulates telecommunications. (Although that distinction is under discussion elsewhere.) At a more local level it seemed to make sense because the customer doesn’t always know what services they have and how they get them and Frontier doesn’t make a distinction between staffs that handles one or the other. So issues impacting internet will also impact telecommunications.

The report outlines the top complaints, starting with the most common…

  • High levels of dissatisfaction with Frontier’s 1 (800) customer service, for many reasons
  • Much slower download and upload speeds than customers expected
  • Frequent service interruptions, disconnections, and outages of phone service (especially when DSL internet access is provided on the same line) and internet access service
  • Failure to repair and maintain network equipment or invest in new equipment;
  • Various billing errors (premature ending of promotional rates, illegitimate taxes, services not ordered or requested, vacation hold rate not billed accurately, etc.)
  • Phone and internet service outages occurring when it rains or when power goes out, and then it may take weeks for Frontier to restore phone and internet service after outages, or restoring internet service results in losing phone service and vice versa;
  • Offering higher speeds of internet service at increased prices to customers who complain of slow speeds, but not actually providing higher speed connections;
  • Inconvenient 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. repair windows;
  • No expedited repairs for phone or internet customers with medical needs;
  • Missed repair appointments;
  • Repairs only temporarily improving internet access or phone service, if at all
  • Phone service problems that Frontier ascribes to customers’ phones or inside wiring when problems originate in Frontier’s lines or at its switches, and charging for a service call when it is Frontier’s service that is not working;
  • Resistance or refusal to credit customer bills for service outages and slow speeds;
  • Rates promised by sales and service representatives not honored;
  • Threatening termination penalties despite inadequate service;
  • Requiring customers to lease routers on a monthly basis rather than using their own;
  • Wrongful imposition of early termination fees and automatic renewals of additional terms, or “rolling term agreements”
  • Poor service forcing customers to use their cell phones instead of Frontier’s service or to go to another location where they can get internet access;
  • Large rate increases despite poor service, as well as rates that keep increasing;
  • Charges for security and telephone features that were not ordered or that ceased working; Delay in crediting online payments, which can result in late payment charges;
  • Lack of explanation for charges on electronic bills and new charges, such as the “internet infrastructure surcharge”;
  • Failure to respond to letters or false responses made to the Attorney General or the Federal Communications Commission (FCC);  and
  • Refusal to extend service
This entry was posted in MN, Policy by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

I have a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. I have been interested or involved in providing access to information through the Internet since 1994, when I worked for Minnesota’s first Internet service provider. I am pleased to be a part of the Blandin on Broadband Team. I also work with MN Coalition on Government Information, Minnesota Rural Partners, and the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

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