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Frustration with Frontier

By Staff | Feb 8, 2013

For any one considering subscribing to Frontier’s internet service, be prepared to accept frustration and disappointment. Based on my experience and that of my neighbors, Frontier’s service is neither high-speed nor reliable. During the years my neighbors and I have subscribed to Frontier’s internet service, we have not consistently received high-speed service. The final straw, which persuaded me to write this letter,is when Frontier did nothing for over a week to fix a widespread low speed problem in my community, which at the submission of this letter continues to be unresolved.

When signing-up with Frontier, we were “provisioned” to receive a speed of 1Mb, but, on many occasions, we have received a speed of 0.10Mb. This speed is the equivalent of less than that provided with a telephone connection, and far less that required to “stream” Netflix movies. Moreover, web pages and emails cannot be accessed without waiting several minutes for the page to appear.

When my neighbor called customer support, she was told that her computer had viruses, and to correct the problem she should enroll in their computer virus program for $16 per month. This was not only untrue, it was fraudulent. She had explained the low speed was happening throughout the entire small subdivision. My experience with Frontier technical support was also unproductive, although not fraudulent. Based on my research, I discovered Frontier has antiquated equipment unable to meet current traffic demands and other transmission line problems. To upgrade would cut into their profits.

As an economist, I believe that our capitalist system works best for consumers when competition is abundantly available. Unfortunately, many low density rural areas become “captive customers” when only one company is available to provide the required service. Companies such as Comcast, Verizon, Cox and others have determined that expansion of their services into low density population areas is not economically feasible due to a potentially inadequate subscriber base. Other possible alternatives, such as Satellite companies are either unreliable and/or technologically incapable of provideing high-speed internet service at reasonable prices.

In summary, due to lack of competition, Frontier has little or no economic incentive to upgrade their equipment and personnel, which in most cases would result in consistent high-speed service. On the other hand, alternative potential service providers see little profit and are unwilling to expand their services into low density population areas. —This is a case study on how lack of competition causes inequitable, unreliable and inadequate service to rural consumers. Under these conditions, many rural areas will never have access to reliable broadband service unless state/federal tax credit construction programs are developed, which will provide the economic incentive for other internet providers to service rural areas.

Joe Migliorise, retired economist