|By Bob Weaver|
Many Calhoun residents who are linked to Frontier's landline system continue to report frequent outages, many of those who are complaining are older citizens who rely on the service to call 911, family and friends.
While hundreds of complaints have been filed regarding Frontier's so- called high speed internet service, landline service is worsening.
The Calhoun Commission discussed the issue Monday, looking at options to address the situation, which involves Frontier's depreciated infrastructure and few employees to make repairs.
Calhoun Commission president Kevin Helmick said, "We are considering the best action to take. Either to join a union lawsuit or file complaints with the PSC, or both."
Helmick said we need written letters of complaint about landline service. The last time when major disruptions in service happened in the Big Springs-Five Forks area, the commission filed a formal complaint with the West Virginia Public Service Commission, with those problems being remediated.
Helmick said we really need written letters of complaint about landline service from customers.
With the advancement of technology, phone companies have been reluctant to invest in landline improvements.
The Commission is requesting detailed and signed complaints from Frontier customers.
Complaints can be emailed to the commissioners at firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to PO Box 230 Grantsville, WV 26147.
County Commissioner Chip Westfall said the failing landline service is mostly in rural areas, in counties that do not have adequate cell service.
"The commission will do everything we can to improve the situation," Westfall said. "We need letters of complaint."
For the first time in history, federal researchers report that a majority of U.S. homes rely on cellphones alone for a telephone connection, without a landline.
There have been few improvements with additional cell service to Calhoun in the past 25 years, as landlines are going the way of the dinosaur.
The number of cellphone-only households predictably has been climbing over the years, surpassing the households with both a landline and a mobile phone and now reaching almost 51 percent in the US.
According to the Chicago Tribune, state legislatures in 20 states have given AT&T the OK to end landline service in their states so the telecommunications company can focus and invest more in wireless or internet-based phone networks.
A three county consortium , Clay, Calhoun and Roane, are working on bringing a co-op broadband system to the rural area.