FTC suing Frontier for internet that’s too slow

Minneapolis Star Tribune reports…

The Federal Trade Commission and six states are suing Frontier Communications for not delivering the internet speeds it promised customers and charging them for better, more expensive service than they actually got.

In its complaint, filed Wednesday in federal court in California, the FTC said thousands of Frontier customers have complained that the company was not delivering promised speeds. Customers said they couldn’t use the internet service for the online activities they should have been able to.

The complaint concerns what’s called DSL internet, an older type of network that’s sent over copper telephone wires. Phone and cable companies today build networks which can handle much faster speeds. The FTC says Frontier provides DSL service to 1.3 million customers in 25 states, mostly in rural areas. It has about 3 million internet customers overall.

Minnesota is not part of the suit but…

The Minnesota attorney general’s office settled with Frontier last July over possible deceptive billing practices. The company agreed to disclose its prices to new customers before they get service and said it would pay $750,000 in restitution to customers. It also agreed to invest at least $10 million over four years to improve its broadband network in the state. West Virginia in 2015 required the company to spend $150 million to boost internet speeds for rural customers as part of a settlement.

[Added May 20, 7:41pm]

The folks from Frontier have asked me to include post their response to the original article…

Frontier Communications Parent, Inc. (“Frontier”), today responded to a lawsuit filed by the Federal Trade Commission and State officials in Arizona, California, Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina, and Wisconsin claiming that Frontier made material misrepresentations to consumers in descriptions of its digital subscriber line (“DSL”) Internet services.

The following can be attributed to a spokesperson for Frontier:

“Frontier believes the lawsuit is without merit. The plaintiffs’ complaint includes baseless allegations, overstates any possible monetary harm to Frontier’s customers and disregards important facts including the following:

 

  • Frontier offers Internet service in some of the country’s most rural areas that often have challenging terrain, are more sparsely populated and are the most difficult to serve.
  • Frontier’s rural DSL Internet service was enthusiastically welcomed when it was launched and has retained many satisfied customers over the years.
  • Frontier’s DSL Internet speeds have been clearly and accurately articulated, defined and described in the Company’s marketing materials and disclosures.

Frontier will present a vigorous defense.”

This entry was posted in Digital Divide, Policy, 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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