(06/28/2019)
By Bob Weaver

Frontier continues to be in serious trouble as a service provider.

The future looks pretty gloomy.

"Access to phone service is not a luxury, it is a critical lifeline that could mean the difference between life and death," Senator Joe Manchin said in a letter to Frontier CEO Dan McCarthy.

Manchin's letter follows the West Virginia Public service Commission opening an audit into Frontier's operation in August 2018. That was prompted by a large increase in complaints about Frontier's service.

"I don't always depend on it to work because I know it is probably not going to do that," Frontier customer Lawrence Gray said. "So it used to be a real shock when you picked it up and it didn't work. The other day when I picked it up and you couldn't get a dial tone, I was like well here we are again. It is the way it is."

Frontier's delivery of the vital service has been on a decline for well over a decade, in more recent years customers dropping landline for cell service.

Unfortunately, in most rural areas of the state, cell service is not available or sketchy.

The landline infrastructure needs improvement, not even considering where the state is with real broadband service.

In Calhoun it typically takes 5-10 days for Frontier to restore service after an outage.

Frontier Vice President Javier Mendoza issued this statement: "Frontier serves only about ten percent of the state voice lines in its service area – and falling – but has 100 percent of the universal service obligation to serve the most rural and high-cost areas. Our customer base continues to decline, while the cost of service per line has increased dramatically. This has resulted in an unsustainable model for providing service in rural and high-cost areas, manifesting in increased numbers of service complaints. We plan to reach out to the state’s leaders to collaboratively find solutions to this difficult challenge."


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