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Big Headaches for Frontier Takeover of Verizon Landlines/DSL/FiOS in Texas, Florida, and California

Phillip Dampier April 4, 2016 Consumer News, Frontier, Public Policy & Gov't, Rural Broadband, Video 40 Comments
As of late Monday afternoon, Downdetector.com still shows widespread outages for Frontier customers in North Texas, western Florida and parts of California.

As of late Monday afternoon, Downdetector.com still shows widespread outages for Frontier customers in North Texas, western Florida and parts of California.

Despite promises this past weekend’s transition from Verizon Communications to Frontier Communications would result in little more than “a logo change,” countless customers in the affected states of Florida, Texas, and California reported long service outages, website problems, and long holds waiting to talk to customer service representatives about when service would be back.

The outages were most widespread on Friday morning, April 1, when many subscribers awoke to discover they no longer had phone, television, or broadband service. A blitz on social media directed at Frontier quickly followed on Facebook and Twitter, many summing up their first experience with Frontier to be like “dealing with a third-rate phone company.”

Louise Thompson called the transition “a total fiasco” and some businesses lost thousands of dollars on Friday alone. The “Happy Grasshopper” was one of them, after losing Internet and phone service.

“We have 20 employees who can’t get any work done here today,” said owner Dan Stewart.

Gerard Donelan, a real estate appraiser who works from home in South Tampa, was still without service Friday afternoon. “I talked to customer service about 10:30. … He told me service was down in the Tampa Bay area, and he didn’t know when it was coming back, and there was nothing he could do,” Donelan told the Tampa Tribune. “What a joke. These guys were telling us just yesterday how seamless this was going to be. My next phone call is to Bright House.”

welcome frontierThe popular Zudar’s sandwich shop downtown was still unable to swipe credit cards or take phone or Internet orders at mid-afternoon. “It’s having a terrible effect on business,” said owner Eric Weinstein. “It’s absolutely an epic failure on their part. An amazing lack of customer service and communication.”

frontier texasThe City of Plano (Tex.) lost its website in the transition. Frontier shared its failure with AT&T mobile customers in parts of Florida, who found cell service not working because Frontier also took control of fiber links connecting many of AT&T’s cell towers to AT&T’s network. Many of those were down too.

“During the early morning of April 1, 2016, a technical issue occurred during the integration of the systems Frontier acquired from Verizon that impacted service to some enterprise and carrier customers in Florida, Texas and California.  As of 9:30 am eastern, the issue was resolved,” the company’s statement said.  “In addition, an unrelated fiber cut occurred that impacted customers in the Tampa market.”

Across all three states, Frontier officials hurried to downplay the impact of the service outages, which are continuing to this day for some customers. In some statements, Frontier claimed only about 500 business customers lost service, and there were no widespread problems. But many of the 3.7 million customers in Texas, Florida and California enduring the transition say those outages and problems affect residential accounts.

“There is ‘absolutely nothing widespread going on?'” asked Eric Petty, an adjunct professor at St. Petersburg College. “What a bunch of liars. How stupid do they think their customers are?”

One of the biggest problems customers are encountering is the procedure to transition their online access from Verizon to Frontier. To begin that process, customers need a new Frontier ID, but that is easier said than done if you lack landline service. As part of the registration process, customers need to enter the account PIN number usually displayed on landline bills, but often missing from broadband-only service bills.

frontier floridaLee Allen of Dallas was one of many frustrated customers. He spent an hour trying to manage the Frontier MyAccount registration process and when he tried to sync his Verizon and Frontier account together, it was a flop.

Two calls to Frontier customer service and still no joy reports the Dallas Morning News.

“I’m in limbo,” he said Friday afternoon.”I’m self-employed and work from home. They are supposed to be a technology company. They should have been ready.”

Frontier says they are aware of this problem and are working on a solution.

In Los Gatos, Calif., it was an Internet-free weekend for most of the city’s former Verizon Internet customers, who also lost service on Friday. As of Sunday morning, they still didn’t have service, according to the San Jose Mercury News:

Los Gatos customers were assured the transition on April 1 would be smooth with no interruption to service. But that hasn’t been the case, said Beau Graeber, Fenesy’s neighbor who’s helping him contact the company and reconfigure his Internet.

“It’s a little frustrating,” Graeber said, adding that Verizon — now Frontier — is the only option for Internet and telephone service in Los Gatos, outside of cable or satellite providers. “For Ralph and some of my other neighbors, it’s a terrible inconvenience.”

frontier californiaConcerned customers with bills due this week are finding they don’t have enough access on Frontier’s website to arrange payment of their bill. Frontier says not to worry – “Until this process is completed on April 8th, you will only have very limited account access, even with a Frontier ID,” Frontier reports. “You can still use your Frontier ID to download the Frontier TV App, HBO GO, Watch ESPN, Disney and other popular entertainment Apps. If your bill is due during this period, rest assured that all late fees will be waived.”

Beyond total service outages and interruptions, other customers are reporting various problems with Frontier’s version of FiOS TV:

  • Frontier began migrating their 100,000 title On Demand library to FiOS on April 2. The process was supposed to be complete Saturday afternoon, but some customers are still having problems. Frontier: “We understand how important Video on Demand is to our customers. We apologize for the inconvenience and are working diligently to ensure the content is available as soon as possible. If you get a message that the service is ‘temporarily unavailable,’ you should reboot your set-top box to refresh the VOD service. To reboot, unplug your set-top box, wait at least 10 seconds, and then plug it back in. Please note, a reboot can take up to 3 minutes as the system refreshes your settings. If you continue to experience any issues accessing VOD, please call our Tech Support team at 1-877-600-1511.”
  • The Nickelodeon Jr. FiOS TV Widget/App was retired by Nickelodeon on March 31 prior to the transition to Frontier. It is, therefore, not available. Customers can still watch Nick Jr. on their home television. Customers can also access Nick Jr.’s programming via the web, at www.nickjr.com, or through Nickelodeon’s mobile apps for iOS and Android.
  • When searching for a Video on Demand title with the FiOS TV remote, customers may notice due to the transition from Verizon to Frontier, many of the movies and TV shows are not appearing in either “New Releases” or “Collections”. However, they can be found by scrolling down to “By Title” and then selecting “All” in order to find your choice. You can also search for your VOD by selecting the “B” button on your FiOS TV remote.

frontier new logoFrontier promised regulators things would go better for new Frontier customers after the company botched a similar transfer of AT&T customers in Connecticut that went so poorly, the company had to offer $50 service credits to affected customers.

“We have lessons to learn,” Frontier spokeswoman Kathleen Abernathy told Connecticut regulators at the time.

“They didn’t learn a thing,” said Stan Rogers, a transitioned Frontier customer outside of Allen, Tex. “I was there for the Connecticut switchover two months before I moved down here and now I get to experience the same thing all over again. To give you an idea of where Frontier is on the technology curve, they have sent me information about how to transition my Verizon e-mail address to AOL. Hello!”

North Texas resident Larry Allen agrees, “I didn’t think anything could drive me back to Comcast, but Frontier may do it. TV issues, email issues, Frontier can’t process my information to set up an account, horrible/outdated selection of movies on demand, [and] Frontier [is] not responding to emails for assistance.”

[flv]http://www.phillipdampier.com/video/WTSP Tampa Frontier transition not as smooth as promised 4-1-16.mp4[/flv]

WTSP in Tampa reports Florida area customers didn’t get the easy transition from Verizon to Frontier they were promised. (2:22)

[flv]http://www.phillipdampier.com/video/KTVT Dallas Frontier service problems persist for some 4-3-16.mp4[/flv]

KTVT in Dallas reports Frontier service outages created headaches for customers across North Texas. (2:08)

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Ralph
Guest
Ralph

Maybe this is why I couldn’t access my online account to pay my bill? After multiple tries over 16 hours, I finally was able to access my account and submit a payment! To the former Verizon customers: Welcome to the “New Frontier” where you will probably experience many new adventures in sub-par broadband, rude, robotic like customer service people who follow their prepared scripts to the letter and who might even recommend that you seek internet access elsewhere. Welcome to the land of phantom field techs where they rarely show up when expected, if at all. I hope you’ll enjoy… Read more »

Paul Houle
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Paul Houle

It amazes me how many “business oriented” folks fall down completely when it comes to getting paid; it’s like the culture that you have to make your customers suffer has to trump getting money.

Joe V
Guest
Joe V

why this is even news anymore? You know what I find truly sad about this? Look at where most of the problems are coming from : the state of Florida. There’s two things I see from news and social media platforms reporting about this Verizon to Frontier transition : 1. People are complaining that NO ONE told them about this. They are angry because supposedly Verizon snuck this deal behind closed doors without a public announcement which is a pathetic lie. It was announced a year ago and has been continuously reported in technology and business websites and 2. Residents… Read more »

Tiffany
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Tiffany

Um, no. I think they are angry that A) they do not have the internet service that they paid for, and for many the internet is a source of their livelihood B) they suddenly do not have access to video on demand, which they have paid for and/or C) they spent hours trying to set up and view their online account. No one in my community is complaining that they did not know about the merger, pretty much everyone knew about it. And I have not heard one person complain about regulators overseeing it. People are complaining that Frontier did… Read more »

Joe V
Guest
Joe V

The complaining customers paid Verizon for those services BEFORE the takeover happened. Frontier has already stated that any late fees or charges accumulated during this transition and the issues following it will be assessed and waived. It is an inconvenience HOWEVER whenever something big like network a network cutover happens on a massive scale there are always issues. There is also the fact that AT&T and Verizon badly neglected these wireline networks before selling them off to Fairpoint, Frontier, Hawaiian Telecom and Windstream. How quickly we forget. I give props to Frontier for what they are dealing with in all… Read more »

Tony Pl
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Tony Pl

Listen ahole, I’m about as tech savvy and investment oriented & informed as they come and this was NOT widely publicized. In fact, Verizon just last year insisted they were NOT getting rid of their FIOS broadband service. They stated that emphatically several times over the course of the last 3 years. You begin your Dem talking point rant against people who voted against big government like this is somehow their fault and not a 3rd class outfit like Frontier but you fail to mention the thousands (at a minimum) of affected people in Texas and The Socialist State of… Read more »

Joe V
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Joe V

Actually, YES, this was widely publicized. Frontier and Verizon announced this agreement February 15th 2015. Everyone from the Verge, to CNET, Bloomberg, Motley Fool, Wall street Journal and hundreds of local publishings including DSL Reports and this website posted the news and ongoing coverage of the latest three state Verizon/Frontier deal. If you are investment and tech oriented as you say you are, you would have been aware. You chose to be ignorant of it. You know it never ceases to amaze me those same people who are against “big government socialism” are quick to point the finger at supposed… Read more »

paul howard
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paul howard

FYI: While California IN AREAS OF THE STATE are decidedly extreme to the political left that isn’t true for the state as a whole. The Appellate courts on up are decidedly conservative. Many state legislators from the northern part of the state are decidedly conservative. This mix and match govt makes for odd laws. California state regulatory agencies are toothless. Have little or no legal power to do anything. Most function in advisory roles. In fact most laws passed by our legislators are toothless having no enforcement mechanism. It is all a good show for the voters. MY own experience… Read more »

Doug
Guest
Doug

We were notified of the changeover about two weeks prior. We shouldn’t have to monitor technology news to hear about our services being changed over. But as others have said the reason this is news is because of the ineptitude that took place during the conversion and in the weeks since. I have had prior experiences with Frontier and never would have signed on if I knew they would be taking over. But you know they’ll hold us to the contracts we signed with Verizon. As far as the voting goes here in Florida, I agree with you. Sadly I’m… Read more »

Raymundo
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Raymundo

Us simple folk in FL can only dream of being as smart as you, Joe. Thank you for taking the time to explain things to us so we can understand them.

MarkLex
Guest
MarkLex

I’m not one of the Frontier/Verizon customers, but I have been through 2 transitions since moving in my new home in 2004 in Lexington KY. At one point, Lexington’s phone co was GTE, which became Verizon, which became Alltel, which then became Windstream. I don’t ever remember going through anything like this with a transition. The longest outage I remember was less than 24 hours… I hope they figure out the issues soon with the switch. To think this happened April 1 and some people are still without internet/phone/tv. Like the Happy Grasshopper guy said, “everyone is pretty much at… Read more »

Paul Houle
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Paul Houle

They’re pretty smart, they did it April 1 because they figured people wouldn’t believe anything they read in the news that day. I have been watching the charts and I can say Wall Street is not happy with FTR right now. I can’t see why there is so much hand-wringing about cable mergers when, the fact is, people who have Comcast, Bright House, Charter, Time Warner and any of them have it 100x better than residents of Frontier country, and in fact the only reason why Frontier has any customers at all is that they live in cell phone dead… Read more »

Joe V
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Joe V

Despite their problems, Verizon and Frontier are the only two that do not have data caps / usage based billing schemes although Frontier is still mulling the idea. I would give anything to have either one of them as my internet provider. I HATE AT&T and Comcast. Their greed is never ending. You know what I find truly tragic about all of the things I listed above Phil? Is that there’s one part that is missing but I know that it will spur new interest in DVD sales to coincide with Network Access Storage devices (NAS) and here’s why: I… Read more »

mike
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mike

This guy had the right idea and the resources to pull it off..I would loive to be able to do soemthing tlike this in my area…If the Wireless guys are going to rip you off then build your own system…..http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2016/4/1/1509117/-One-man-in-Tennessee-isn-t-waiting-for-his-corrupted-officials-he-built-his-own-broadband-network

Randal Snyder
Guest
Randal Snyder

I don’t bother to use the phone service (the phones are in a drawer somewhere) as we use (Sprint) cell phones and our internet has been fine. I haven’t tried to re-register anything. The big problem we have been having is ON-Demand. MY wife and I are retired and a lot of the time we want to watch a program or movie when we want to, not when it happens to be on. We have the high end package, with all of the premium channels and used ON-Demand a lot! First it started to say it wasn’t available for a… Read more »

M
Guest
M

Since the Florida takeover, outages and internet speeds have been a daily crapshoot. We’re only on a data plan as it fits our needs for business and entertainment, so for a the quality of the product being paid for varies in such a random way from day-to-day is not only annoying, it impacts our business. We’ve called Frontier with the expected long wait times and canned responses requesting us to be patient. Three weeks in and our upload/download speeds are about 1/4 of what they were in March. Their IT employees respond with somewhat condescending remarks that our speeds are… Read more »

Wanda
Guest
Wanda

I got y’all beat. Down here in Florida we lost our phone and internet two weeks ago and don’t you just know it still isn’t working. We were on hold with Frontier for 2 hours on Friday and they swore to us they’d be out Wednesday and fix things. If the good Lord Jesus himself told them they’d be sent to hell for lying, Frontier already has 1st Class tickets. My ex-husband lied less than this phone company. They told me “Miss Wanda, we are sorry we could not get out there but we called you to let you know.”… Read more »

Doug
Guest
Doug

My big complaint is that despite the mess of a conversion, despite numerous outages and the way they haven’t lived up to their end of the deal, they are certainly going to hold me to the contract I signed with Verizon. I’ve had prior experience with Frontier. It wasn’t good. I would never sign a contract with them. They may get my termination fees in the end, but they are losing customers by the thousands and dollars by the millions.

bay4hotrod
Guest
bay4hotrod

This is new news to me because I just recieved my business invoice today to the tune of a stright 50% increase. Smooth transition my butt. Frontier says I am now under “their” surcharges. Going on the war path tomorrow

Mark
Guest
Mark

My ailing 85-yo mother, who lives in Yucaipa, CA, has been completely without phone service for almost A WHOLE MONTH now!!! She cannot call her doctor. She cannot call the pharmacy. She cannot call the police. She cannot call the Ambulance or EMT. She cannot call anyone in her family. And no one can call her. The entire neighborhood where my mother lives has no phone service. Calling customer service has done no good. I have waited in vain for someone to answer. The one time someone did answer, I could not understand anything they said. I also tried the… Read more »

Joe V
Guest
Joe V

from a bud who works for Verizon in transferring to Frontier: “Frontier didn’t get screwed. The systems stay the same for one year and we gave them an entire IT team to support the backend in the transition. We worked with them for MONTHS before the transition. This is not Verizon’s fault. The reality is that they are using the exact same system we do for FiOS. We just cut the ties in the database so the 2 sides don’t talk. The outages are all on frontier. They got our systems and our people and they still can’t make it… Read more »

Arlene J
Guest
Arlene J

I learned about the merger this morning when I tried to get to my Illinois Frontier account. I am not a techie so do not read those publications nor am I particularly interested in reading the Wall Street Journal or other business publications. I read local publications with occasional Chicago Tribune. As I said, I am in Illinois and sympathize with all the power outages. Maybe it is not connected, but since early April my Frontier provided internet service has been unreliable. Phone seems to be ok. After waiting for 45 min to try to figure out why I cannot… Read more »

Kent
Guest
Kent

Just cancelled Frontier service for lying and not honoring their agreement and over billing. I’m a former Verizon customer that got transferred to Frontier in April. I started to get internet problems and started working with Frontier customer service for hours and couldn’t get it fixed. Replacements and increasing internet 60 to 100 service didn’t help. I decided to cancel my service since I was month to month. Frontier transferred me to another department and offered me a decent price (same price as a new customer would have got) and I accepted the new plan using the same modem from… Read more »

Will
Guest
Will

I used to take those calls for Frontier and absolutely hated this ISP. When you call customer service (billing people), unfortunately they are all outsourced now to other countries, we can’t understand them either nor can we usually get any real information from them that is helpful for the customer. Who, has no doubt been put through the ringer with the Frontier call system and customer service reps who can’t speak understandable English. If you call us, Tech support which is only in the USA, here is what we can do. Most other ISP’s when I get a call the… Read more »

Joe V
Guest
Joe V

http://www.gazettes.com/news/frontier-communications-answers-city-council-complaints-for-long-beach-service/article_c80f8a6e-173a-11e6-8caf-7725e5cac0ab.html “California, Texas and Florida Verizon systems were turned over to Frontier on April 1. White said that it was discovered the system was primarily software based, and required software solutions. “In the larger context, the disruption was minimal — less than 1% (of customers) experienced any disruption,” White said. “This is our largest market, and it is very important to us. We are working diligently to resolve these issues.” White said she had set up a specific email address, [email protected], for customers to contact management directly. In response to complaints about the operators answering calls, White said Frontier had… Read more »

Eric M
Guest
Eric M

We read every Verizon bill and communique from front to back as they had a habit of adding random billing errors in their favor, and not once in any of that literature was there ever any mention of the sale to Frontier. We don’t follow broadband industry news — it holds no particular fascination for us now that it’s become a commodity. So when the cutover hit it was a bit of a surprise to us, but the fact that Verizon handled the whole thing like the mutts they are, was not. After the switch it was a total cluster****… Read more »

Patsy P
Guest
Patsy P

This company does not understand the needs of small business. I was a Verizon FioS small business customer, and the service from Frontier is a nightmare. Moreover, it’s not everyday you let in a technician — someone who shows up several days after the expected appointment time — who is a total and complete misogynist. He simply plugged the company laptop into my router, told me that the lines were working fine on his computer and suggested that I get all 9 of my computers/mobile devices repaired. He was completely condescending and bitter, and I only got a solution after… Read more »

Sergio
Guest
Sergio

Tomorrow Wednesday May 18th the California State Assembly Committee on Utilities and Commerce will be meeting at 1:30 pm in Sacramento Please send your complaints and issues to them by calling or emailing the following: [email protected] or calling 916-319-2083 You can also call one of the assembly members on the committee they include the following: Mike Gatto (Chair) (916) 319-2043 Jim Patterson (Vice Chair) (916) 319-2023 Autumn R. Burke (916) 319-2062 Rocky J. Chávez (916) 319-2076 Brian Dahle (916) 319-2001 Susan Talamantes Eggman (916) 319-2013 Cristina Garcia (916) 319-2058 Eduardo Garcia (916) 319-2056 David Hadley (916) 319-2066 Roger Hernández (916)… Read more »

shannon
Guest

I am not happy on so many levels! Poorly administrated and the transition was not done well. I did not receive any email or notice to prepare.

I won’t describe personally how this affected me but it DID and there is no restoring the damage.

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