Frontier Draws ‘Steady Pace’ of Complaints Since Verizon Wireline Transition

Edward GatelyBusiness and residential customers in California, Florida and Texas have filed more than 1,100 complaints against Frontier Communications since it took over Verizon’s wireline operations in those states on April 1.

With the acquisition, Frontier doubled in size as the nation’s largest rural phone company. On Monday, it issued the following statement regarding the complaints:

“We are continuing to resolve customer issues as they come to us. We transitioned more than 3 million customers in California, Texas and Florida to Frontier-provided services. Our command center is monitoring the network 24/7, tracking every customer escalation, and approximately 1,000 highly trained, experienced technicians are working extended hours and weekends to resolve every customer request. At the same time, we’re operating and maintaining the network, taking care of business-as-usual issues, and clearing up the backlog of customer issues/orders that transitioned to us from Verizon as of April 1. We are working hard to address all customer questions and concerns.”

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) received 584 complaints from April 1 through April 29, according to spokesperson Terrie Prosper.{ad}

“The CPUC coordinated with both Frontier and Verizon [California operations] prior to the closing of the transaction on March 31 to ensure compliance with the conditions specified by the CPUC in approving the transaction,” she said. “Likewise, the CPUC ensured that prior to the closing, new Frontier consumer points of contact were established, both with respect to the name(s) of new contact persons and new contact numbers that consumers can call for telephone service issues/outages. After the closing of the transaction, we are ensuring that any consumer complaints and service issues brought to the CPUC’s attention are communicated to and resolved by Frontier.”

California State Assembly member Mike Gatto issued a statement saying there has been an “alarming rate of telephone and Internet outages in Southern California, and consumers are frustrated with the lack of a solution to this months-long ordeal.” He chairs the Utilities and Commerce Committee.

“These problems need to be resolved swiftly,” he said. “Cities are unable to live-stream council meetings and residents are at risk because of the inability to dial 911 in an emergency. My committee will hold hearings on the impact on our constituents and the appropriate government response if these problems persist.”

A hearing has been scheduled for May 18 to be attended by Gatto, other committee members, Frontier and the CPUC.

In the meantime, the Public Utility Commission of Texas received 381 complaints through …


… May 6, said spokesman Terry Hadley. The complaints focus on numerous types of service, he said.

“Since April 1, it’s been a steady pace,” he said. “We’re reviewing them right now. A substantial number appear to be non-jurisdictional, Internet service. The state of Texas has no authority over that, so we refer those to the Federal Communications Commission. As far as telephone service, that depends on the type of service, whether it’s VoIP or landline, and whether the area has been deregulated or not.”

The complaints were addressed briefly during the commission’s May 4 meeting. Carl Erhart, Frontier’s vice president of regulatory and governmental affairs, was present, but wasn’t questioned or asked to address any issues. Commissioners also had no questions.

This week, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam called on Frontier to resolve customer issues. Since April 1, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has received 144 complaints, eclipsing in one month the 111 complaints Verizon had received in a one-year period.

“Frontier Communications’ customers don’t know where to turn for help with their service issues, and I encourage Floridians to contact my department so we can assist,” Putnam said. “While we do not have oversight over Frontier Communications, we’re here to advocate on behalf of Florida’s consumers.”

Frontier currently is providing the landline phone, Internet and TV services previously provided by Verizon in the following Florida counties: Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk and Sarasota.

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