Pocahontas County Commissioner Wants To Keep Pressure On Local Internet Provider

Marlinton, WV – Pocahontas County Commissioner Martin Saffer wants to make sure the internet needs of Pocahontas County residents are getting the attention he feels they deserve. Saffer says he believes the local Frontier Communications employees are doing everything in their power to make DSL service faster and more responsive. But he says he’s not sure that the corporate office is doing the same.

“The people I’m trying to talk to are the management and corporate headquarters up there in Stamford, Connecticut” says Saffer. “To make sure they give to West Virginia and to Pocahontas County especially, the financial resources and the push for management to make sure that we become of a parity with other areas of West Virginia, but more importantly to other states in the US, and to the world at large.”

To that end, Saffer presented a draft letter to Frontier during the County Commission meeting last week. In the letter Saffer says that many customers are paying for service they’re not getting in terms of speed and reliability. Reta Griffith, a Regional manager for Frontier, says she realizes there are still issues, but asks for patience while the company continues to work on upgrades.

“Frontier has placed a significant investment in Pocahontas County” says Griffith. “When you look at the other regions of the state that were serviced by other companies, they don’t have near the coverage that we have; we’re over 92% covered in Pocahontas County. And although that may not be at the speeds that everyone would like to have, there was a major investment by Frontier in this region so that we did at least have access to the internet.”

Griffith also asked that the letter be addressed to her at the local level first rather than starting at the top of the company. But while agreeing that she should get copies of the correspondence, Saffer insists on sending the letter to the CEO of Frontier.

“The message I want to direct, I want to direct to the top, because that’s where the money and the power is; that’s where the captain of the ship resides” says Saffer. “In Pocahontas County, you get your marching orders from them, not vice versa.”

A motion to send the letter to Frontiers corporate office passed unanimously. Copies of the letter will also be sent to Griffith and the West Virginia Attorney General’s office.

In other business, the Commission also heard updates from James Swiger with WYK Associates. Swiger says the boiler project in the county jail is complete. The roof project is essentially completed except for a few items such as installing the new air conditioning unit. Swiger and project manager Steven Kelly then went over the drawings for the courthouse elevator project. Swiger says they are ready to advertise for bids for the project and hopes to have preliminary bid meeting in March, with bids opened for the project in April.

The Commissioners approved a little over $200.00 in matching funds for two grants being pursued by the Pocahontas County Prevention Coalition. Grant coordinator Thomas Peterson says the original amount needed for the match was over $1700.00, but several civic organizations have stepped up to provide the rest of the cash match.

The Commissioners also approved a letter to the West Virginia Infrastructure and Jobs Development Council in support of the Pocahontas County Public Service District’s new regional sewer plan. The letter also asks the IJDC to reinstate the Region 4 Planning and Development board as administrators for the project.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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