FTC sues Frontier Communications over failure to deliver promised internet speeds

Photo (c) Atit Phetmuangtong EyeEm - Getty Images

Many problems come from rural areas where consumers don’t always have another choice to pick from

Internet service provider Frontier Communications had been hit with a one-two punch from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the law enforcement agencies of six states. 

The FTC, Arizona, California, Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina, and Wisconsin have collectively sued Frontier for not delivering internet service at the speeds it advertised.

The company currently provides residential DSL internet service to approximately 1.3 million consumers across 25 states. The FTC says Frontier promoted various internet tiers to consumers using a variety of methods -- including mail and online ads -- and sold them to consumers both online and over the phone. 

The complaints piled up

Dating back to January 2015, the FTC said its complaints desk has been piling up with thousands of consumers complaining about Frontier’s failure to make good on its internet speed pitches. At the top of the list were complaints that things requiring larger transfers of data, such as streaming video and gaming, were impossible when they shouldn’t have been. Many customers complained that the speeds were so slow that they couldn’t even perform typical online activities that should have been possible at the speed tiers Frontier had sold to them.

People also raised plenty of red flags in ConsumerAffairs reviews.

“The slowest high speed internet on the planet. But that doesn't deter Frontier from charging me 110 dollars a month for phone I don't need (can't get internet without it) and internet speed of .4 mps. A call is usually 30 mins or way more. Stay away if you can. Unhappy in Arizona,” said Robert of Yucca, Arizona. 

Another reviewer in Tennessee pointed out that he lives in a rural area and that Frontier is his only option for internet service. Of course, that makes dealing with service problems much more difficult. While it may be a bitter pill to swallow right now, the Federal Communications Commission is currently working to close the digital divide in rural America.

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