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Frontier Adds New $1.50 Surcharge to Broadband Bills; Customers Told It Will Improve Service

Phillip Dampier August 23, 2011 Competition, Consumer News, Frontier, Internet Overcharging, Rural Broadband 8 Comments

Frontier Communications is adding a new $1.50 monthly surcharge for broadband customers not currently enrolled in a “price protection agreement.”  Labeled the HSI Surcharge, the new fee started showing up on customer bills this month, with only a vague explanation buried inside the bill:

Courtesy: Manmaniac

Frontier's Fast One.

Customers attempting to get an explanation of what this charge was all about got a myriad of answers from Frontier customer service representatives:

  • It’s a broadband tax;
  • It’s a surcharge to help pay for network improvements;
  • It’s a charge for customers who refuse to take a price protection plan;
  • It’s a rate increase.

Stop the Cap! called Frontier this afternoon and was told it was designed to collect additional revenue to fund network expansion and was, effectively a rate increase.  Even customers on 1-3 year price protection agreements will eventually pay the “surcharge” as their agreements expire.  It is not a government-mandated charge or tax.

Effectively, this rate increase allows the company to advertise their Internet service at a deceptively low price, until customers discover Frontier’s modem rental fees and surcharges.  In 2009, during Stop the Cap!‘s flirtation with Frontier DSL, we found the “out the door” price for their 3.1Mbps service was actually higher than that charged by Time Warner Cable’s 10Mbps Road Runner service.

Currently there are 8 comments on this Article:

  1. Elena says:

    We have to stop these stealing as Frontier will continue to do so in the future!!!

  2. Annie says:

    And even if you have what you think is a price protection plan, they can add this surcharge to your bill. Two and half years ago I signed up for an internet package with a price guaranteed for life, but because of the fine print that says the guaranteed price doesn’t include taxes or surcharges, Frontier effectively raised the cost of my service. I know Frontier/Verizon was losing money on FIOS — is this their way of recouping some of that?

  3. Dave says:

    Thanks for this article, STC. I’ve been in an exchange of views with Frontier’s office at 41st St. in Everett, WA.

    Here’s the fifth excuse for the HSI surcharge: “The official reason is this: This pass thru surcharge on High Speed Internet service is due to increased costs brought on by the rapid volume growth of services like internet video.” That’s an exact quote from someone in the Customer Relations/GM Partnership Team, who also offered up a ‘but we’re not as bad as Comcast’ argument. Great way to make the sale, eh?

    $1.50 times unknown tens of thousands of customers is substantial. I won’t have it. My account is set to close in several days. Until people are prepared to 1) close their accounts and 2) do so in cooperation as publicly as possible, this will continue. I’ll be checking for follow-up comments, in case there’s an appetite for a larger response.

  4. Dave says:

    The class-action lawsuit is in Minnesota. Here’s the link.
    http://enterpriseitexperts.com/customers-sue-frontier-over-broadband-surcharge/

  5. Julia says:

    We have to stop this junk fee. If we don’t, frontier will continue to charge more under the name “state taxes and other charges”!!

  6. john says:

    I know its an all post but it is the current top list for “hsi surcharge” searches.

    Just talked to a frontier rep “it is a federal fee mandatory for all internet subscribers”
    The modem rental fee is mandatory from Frontier regardless if you have your own modem or use theirs.

    • They are wrong. There is no federally mandated HSI surcharge. In fact, the only federally mandated fee is the one that funds the Universal Service Fund, which is now being reformed to help divert money to rural broadband.

      Frontier is charging just another bill-padding junk fee on their customers, just like the always-increasing “modem rental fee.”

      It is why I don’t recommend Frontier products to my friends and family. They deliver lower speeds and charge higher out the door prices than the local cable company. It just makes so sense to do business with them.

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  • Tim: Hi Phillip, I'm aware it's not "supposed" to count toward the owner's cap. Thing is, it arbitrarily did for my eMTA back in 2013 when I tested this b...
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  • AngryEskimo: They even have customer service reps who have you pay your monthly bill twice. earlier this year I have had two representatives tell me I missed one m...
  • SmilingBob: Ha ha, one of the best stories of the year here. "The two best ways to protect your pets from exposure to robust cell phone signals: 1) Become a Spri...
  • Zach: What are you guys writing to get the credits back? I'm in Gainesville, GA and with the kids watching Sesame Street and Netflix and my design/photograp...
  • Phillip Dampier: I agree. We successfully fought off usage caps with a concentrated campaign directed at both Frontier Communications and Time Warner Cable. Both compa...
  • Phillip Dampier: Just a side note for information purposes: AT&T only enforces its usage caps on DSL customers. To date, I know of no one actually penalized for exceed...
  • Phillip Dampier: As John said, the Xfinity Wi-Fi service does not count towards your cap when someone else is logged into it. Comcast's Network Gateway puts out mu...
  • Tim: I'm aware it's not supposed to count toward the device owner's cap, but it sometimes counts toward the cap for both the signed-in user AND the device ...
  • Paul: I am also a Comcast customer in the Atlanta area of Lawrenceville, about 25 miles from ATL. These data caps are such a nuisance and we usually get hit...
  • John: The Wifi Home Hotspot doesn't count toward the data usage of the customer renting the equipment, but to that of the guest user (they have to sign in t...
  • Glenn Hull: $299.99 per month for 2GB Speed. Thank goodness there are no data caps! Way to innovate Comcast! #comcastcares...

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