FCC’s Pai says FCC Will Keep an Eye on Frontier

Broadcasting & Cable reports…

FCC chair Ajit Pai said the FCC will monitor Minnesota’s issues with Frontier Communications, but also signaled that the broadband provider appeared to be holding to its end of the broadband deployment equation when it came to Connect America Fund (CAF) II funding.

That came in the chairman’s response to a letter from Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tim Smith, both Minnesota Democrats.

The senators had called for an FCC investigation into the company following a Minnesota Public Utilities Commission-prompted state investigation into, among other things, how it used the CAF II funds for broadband deployment.

I reported on the public meetings held last summer where customers complained about the service they received from Frontier. There was lots of frustration but according to Pai, Frontier is on track with it’s CAF obligations…

Pai pointed out in his response that before the FCC authorized the CAF II subsidy to Frontier to serve some 47,000 Minnesota locations, the company acknowledged its obligation to build out under the terms of the funding or face penalties and enforcement actions and that Frontier has told the commission it has met or exceeded its deployment milestones in Minnesota and submitted the required reports and certifications to establish that. He also pointed out that the Minnesota PUC has annually certified to the FCC that Frontier “used the high-cost funds appropriately.”

That said, Pai added that he had related the senators’ information to staff and had asked them to “carefully monitor” the situation.

Many of the original complaints had to due with lack of service or miscommunication of service expectations but it seems like this might be a testament to the results of the CAF upgrades. CAF recipients need only to build to 10 Mbps down and 1 up. Customers of 10/1 service may experience an upgrade to what they currently have but may find that it is no sufficient to meet their needs.


This entry was posted in MN, Policy 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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