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Frontier Communications Tells Customers in Western NY They ‘Don’t Need FiOS Speeds That Fast’

Phillip Dampier September 15, 2010 Broadband Speed, Frontier, Video 9 Comments

Frontier's Ann Burr sat down for an interview with a Rochester television station to discuss the future of landlines.

Frontier Communications told customers in western New York not to expect FiOS fiber-to-the-home technology from them anytime soon, claiming residents in upstate New York do not need broadband speeds that fast.  That prompted regular Stop the Cap! reader Bob in Rochester to drop us a note.

Ann Burr, general manager of Frontier’s Rochester division, told WHAM-TV reporter Rachel Barnhart the company believes its current DSL service is more than adequate for residents in the company’s largest service area.  This, despite the fact Frontier recently adopted a handful of FiOS markets purchased from Verizon Communications.  While Frontier has promised to continue delivering the fiber-to-the-home service in areas already offered the service started by Verizon, they have no plans to expand FiOS.

“We’re constantly upgrading our local networks to make sure they can get higher and higher speeds,” Burr told Barnhart. “Fiber lines are installed in newer developments, and neighborhoods that report problems with DSL lines get attention from technicians.”

With Frontier’s DSL service already available in 95 percent of Frontier’s Rochester-area division, Burr added, there is no need to offer FiOS in Rochester.

Burr, who was formerly president of Time Warner Cable’s Rochester division from 1995-1999, has made similar remarks in the past.  In February, she told readers of the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle they didn’t need ultra-fast broadband speeds from Frontier either.

from 'The Bridge'

Yet Verizon, one of the nation’s largest phone companies, thinks otherwise.  In upstate New York, the company is still completing its fiber optic network in cities like Albany, Buffalo, and Syracuse.  Verizon FiOS remains a top-rated favorite among readers of Consumer Reports.  Frontier’s DSL managed a less impressive 12th place.

Barnhart learned about Frontier’s broadband plans as part of a larger story about how the phone company will survive the age of the cell phone, as local customers continue to disconnect their Frontier landlines in favor of wireless service from providers like Verizon and AT&T.

Burr warned customers to think twice before disconnecting service.

“Don’t do it. Because I’ve personally been in a situation where my home was without power for a couple of days and you have to recharge cell phone batteries, which you can’t do if you don’t have power,” Burr said.

Burr can’t see a day when no one has a landline phone any longer.

“I don’t see that for a long time. I think that wired phone, copper infrastructure that’s been here for many years provides [the] security [and] reliability that people want,” she said.

Burr’s beliefs are contrary to industry statistics that show Americans continue to drop landline service.  Among those under 30, it’s sometimes hard to find anyone who has a landline at all.

The Bridge reports in the second quarter of 2010 alone, just three phone companies — AT&T, Verizon, and Qwest lost nearly 1.5 million landline customers, mostly to cell phone service and competing “digital phone” products offered by the cable industry.

Consumer Reports says its readers gave top marks to Verizon FiOS for its speed, selection, and service. Frontier didn't make this list at all.

[flv]http://www.phillipdampier.com/video/WHAM Rochester Will Frontier Communications Survive in Cell Phone Age 9-15-10.flv[/flv]

WHAM-TV’s Rachel Barnhart talked with local residents who have disconnected their Frontier landlines and spoke with Frontier’s Ann Burr about the long term prospects for a company primarily delivering that service.  (2 minutes)

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jr
jr
10 years ago

“Here, have a 2400 baud modem”-Ann Burr

Mazakman
Mazakman
10 years ago

This woman is so far behind the times it ain’t even funny.

Terry
Terry
10 years ago

“As Ann says, most customers didn’t need that kind of speed anyway!”

Sounds like Ford in the 80’s and 90’s. Instead of selling what consumer’s wanted they tried to force the buyer into buying what they wanted to build. Almost put them out of business. I see a similar future for Frontier.

Tim
Tim
10 years ago
Reply to  Terry

And the people will get what they want one way or another whether they like it or not. This woman is really out of touch with technology.

Terry
Terry
10 years ago

If Frontier was smart, they would start running fiber on there area of ownership on the poles and prepare for the inevitable end of land line telephones. At the very least they could offer highly capable, scalable phone service independent of any other service. They’d also have a technology that would allow them to truly compete with cable internet and as a result allow them to grow and profit rather than shrink and disappear.

kory
kory
10 years ago

She should be fired for such rediculas comments.

Tim
Tim
10 years ago

I work with a group that contracted Frontier for service. At one point, we questioned our SLA with them because we were getting poor performance. The tech admitted that it was not possible for them to ever deliver 10meg. It’s one thing to say that it may vary, but if it can never hit 10meg, that’s a problem. They now provide two bonded DSL circuits for the same price to hold up their end of the contract. While Ann Burr may be totally out of touch with reality, at least Frontier still provides excellent customer service. Having also worked with… Read more »

Tom
Tom
9 years ago

This womans ideas are as old as she is. Im stuck with Time Warner’s “standard plan” and I am not looking for frontier to save me. Either way I’m paying way too much and I’m getting less-than-great service. I really hope she gets her head out of the clouds and realizes that its not about speeds its about options. Right now 2 ISP’s is not enough.

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