Frontier Communications Settles with West Virginia Attorney General
Frontier Communications has agreed to a $160 million settlement for slower than promised internet speeds, according to West Virginia state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.
The settlement, announced Thursday December 10th at the State Capitol, calls for Frontier to put $150 million into infrastructure improvements throughout West Virginia while reducing monthly customer bills by $10 million over three years. Bill reductions for specified Frontier customers could take effect by late January
Morrisey said “This agreement is going to be a game-changer for the Mountain State because we’re going to be enhancing high-speed Internet for tens of thousands of individuals.”
Morrisey said connectivity would be provided to many more consumers living in rural West Virginia.
The settlement followed allegations from Frontier customers who claimed they were charged for high-speed internet when they actually received slower service.
In some cases, Frontier pledged to provide online speeds of six megabits per second but, according to customers, the speeds were less than 1.5 megabits per second.
Frontier has denied any wrongdoing and claimed it entered the settlement agreement to avoid lengthy litigation.
Said Morrisey“We were appreciative to work with Frontier to avoid litigation. Had we gone down that pathway, it could’ve taken years to resolve this issue.”
With penalties that include a $500,000 payment to the attorney general’s Consumer Protection Division, Morrisey called it “one of the largest consumer protection settlements in the state’s history.”
In a response the following day, Rich O’Brien, Frontier vice president of regional marketing described the settlement as a “partnership” with the AG to improve service. He said “We felt, because we’re good corporate citizens, that we should not only listen to those, but enter into an agreement that proves that we’re not just interested in West Virginia, but investing in West Virginia. Working with the Attorney General’s office is a great opportunity to get feedback from the citizens and to respond those concerns that are out there and to put the service where it’s needed. O’Brien noted that since Frontier entered West Virginia in 2010, more than $600 million has been spent on improvements to internet service. He estimated the number of locations with broadband service in West Virginia has risen from 64 percent to more than 90 percent during the past five years.
We thank Shauna Johnston and West Virginia Metro News for this report.