BROADBAND PROMISES, BROADBAND DREAMS - Frontier Sued Over Internet Speeds, Outages

(10/23/2014)

Frontier Sued Over Internet Speeds, Outages

By Eric Eyre, Charleston Gazette Staff Writer

Frontier Communications customers have filed a class-action lawsuit against the company in West Virginia, alleging Frontier failed to provide the high-speed Internet services it advertised.

Customers also complained about frequent Internet outages, and having to repeatedly turn their modems off and on to restore broadband service, according to the lawsuit filed last week in Lincoln County Circuit Court.

Frontier advertised a service called “High-speed Internet Max,” which provides speeds up to 12 megabits per second. But the company “throttled” back Internet speeds, particularly in rural areas, without properly notifying customers, according to the lawsuit. Some customers were receiving speeds below 1 megabit per second, but paying for the faster service, the suit alleges.

Frontier’s “false advertising” violates the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act, according to the complaint.

“The Internet service provided by Frontier does not come anywhere close to the speeds advertised…” wrote Benjamin Sheridan, a Hurricane lawyer who filed on the lawsuit on behalf of three Frontier customers.

Frontier spokesman Dan Page said the customers suing the company got the Internet service they paid for.

“Although we cannot guarantee Internet speeds due to numerous factors, such as traffic on the Internet and the capabilities of a customer’s computer, Frontier tested each plaintiff’s line and found that in all cases the service met or exceeded the ‘up to’ broadband speeds to which they subscribed,” Page said.

Frontier shared the information with the customers and their lawyers, Page said.

“Nonetheless, the plaintiffs filed their case in Lincoln County, where none of them lives,” he said. “If necessary, we are prepared to defend ourselves in court and bring the facts to light.”

In the lawsuit, the customers say Frontier’s alleged dialing back of customers’ Internet speeds – a practice known in the industry as “provisioning” – saves the company a “fortune” in costs that Frontier must pay Internet wholesalers such as Sprint and AT&T.

“…Frontier’s practice of overcharging and failing to provide the high-speed, broadband-level of service it advertises has created high profits for Frontier but left Internet users in the digital Dark Age,” Sheridan wrote.

Frontier, the state’s largest Internet provider, has “a monopoly on Internet services in most of West Virginia,” according to the lawsuit. In rural communities, Frontier is often the only Internet service option, and customers in those areas get slower Internet speeds, the suit alleges ...

READ REST OF STORY:   Frontier Sued Over Internet Speeds, Outages   By Eric Eyre for the Charleston Gazette


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