DRIVING BACKWARD ON INFORMATION SUPER HIGHWAY - Frontier Cuts Internet Service So People Can Chat

(07/25/2002)

By Bob Weaver

During a week in which politicians and business leaders spoke about rural areas being poorly connected to the information highway, there appears a story about basic service problems from the Frontier Telephone Company, formerly Citizens Telecom, which provides service to several poor, low populated West Virginia counties.

This is low-tech phone line service, we're talking about.

Frontier has cut basic phone internet service to its customers in Fort Ashby, according to Frontier Vice-President Reed Nelson. A circuit was set up to allow customers to call Cumberland without a long distance charge.

Nelson said heavy usage by internet customers was causing a blockage for "voice call customers.

Frontier reports the Public Service Commission agreed the best course of action would be to block all traffic to internet service providers.

Frontier customers who have installed a second phone line for internet service would also be affected by the cut-off.

Instead of 21st Century technology, it sounds like reverting to basic sound-of-voice communication, first uttered in 1876 by Alexander Graham Bell and his partner.

Nelson said Frontier cannot afford an upgrade of the Fort Ashby system that could cost up to $30,000.

Calhoun's DSL or rapid-access to the internet has been made available within three miles of Grantsville, but if you live in the country, which most Calhouners do, you're just out of luck.


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