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Utah Opens Formal Investigation Into Frontier Communications; Poor Service Cited

Phillip Dampier July 17, 2019 Consumer News, Frontier, Public Policy & Gov't, Rural Broadband 2 Comments

The Utah Division of Public Utilities (DPU) has launched a formal investigation into the performance of Frontier Communications of Utah after the state received an “abnormal number of complaints” over the past few years about the company’s ability to provide adequate landline phone and internet service in the state.

Frontier only services a small part of Utah, and many of the complaints come from the community of Castle Valley, a small town in Grand County in east-central Utah. The community has a population of just over 300 residents. Frontier is the sole telecommunications provider for much of the area.

“Providing adequate, reliable telecommunications services to the residents of Utah does not happen by chance. It is the result of monitoring a number of factors such as capacity, trouble reporting, and aging of infrastructure,” writes the DPU in a discussion about the investigation. “This monitoring provides support for wise capital investments that prevent outages, such as those being investigated in the current dockets. However, operating conditions can create unique challenges even with optimal investments. The DPU has also observed (through annual reports filed with the DPU) that in recent years Frontier has reported declining levels of annual capital investment. For these reasons the DPU initiated its own investigation into Frontier’s service quality.”

Castle Valley, Utah

The regulator noted Frontier has (so far) ignored a request for information filed with the phone company on June 11, 2019.

The DPU’s primary concern is with Frontier’s lack of investment in its legacy networks, which include those in Utah. Without appropriate investment, service quality deteriorates, particularly in rural areas where long stretches of copper cable have much greater exposure to the elements and have more opportunities for failure. Frontier has already indicated it plans no significant investments in its legacy copper service areas in 2019.

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Paul Houle

Recently I got a letter from Frontier that disclosed that my internet speeds were not up to the advertised rates. Seems like they had a dispute with New York State about this, however this has not gotten as much press as the disputes with Spectrum have. I think in state after state Frontier is facing the music because it is not investing enough to maintain voice service and the DSL they already have. Pretty soon when they are called to account for it they are going to threaten bankruptcy because they can’t afford to maintain their network. It’s sad but… Read more »

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