Frontier has some big headaches in West Virginia, where it faces a class action lawsuit about its broadband service.
A report from local media outlet Charleston Gazette quotes from the lawsuit, which states that Frontier “has a monopoly on Internet services in most of West Virginia” and is the only broadband provider in many rural areas, where as a result of inadequate broadband speeds “students are prevented from doing their homework, and rural customers are unable to utilize the Internet in a way that gives them equal footing with those in an urban environment.”
According to the Gazette, Frontier faces several charges related to its broadband service including:
- Throttling back speeds on its broadband service advertised at speeds “up to 12 Mbps” – particularly in rural areas – with some customers receiving speeds of just 1 Mbps
- Not allowing competitors to use the network built by Frontier using $42 million in federal stimulus funding, despite a commitment to do so
- Failing to make terms of service available to new customers unless they sign up online, thereby getting customers to unknowingly agree to settle disputes through binding arbitration or small claims court
A Frontier spokesman told the Gazette that the customers suing the company got the Internet service they paid for.
Frontier West Virginia Lawsuit
The lawsuit, filed on behalf of three Frontier customers, is the latest example of the contentious relationship Frontier has had with West Virginia, where the company acquired lines from Verizon several years ago.
West Virginia was the last of several states to approve Frontier’s purchase of Verizon lines, imposing significant conditions as a condition of that approval. And after that occurred, Frontier faced a lawsuit filed by the union representing some of its West Virginia employees accusing the company of a breach of a collective bargaining agreement.
The latest suit, filed by the three customers, comes just one month after the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Inspector General reportedly started an investigation into Frontier’s West Virginia stimulus project.