CHARLESTON — Frontier Communications has increased internet speeds for approximately 36 percent of customers impacted by its estimated $160 million settlement with West Virginia, according to Attorney General Patrick Morrisey's office.
Frontier entered into the settlement to resolve complaints about internet speeds provided to its customers. The agreement, announced in December 2015, marked the largest, independently negotiated consumer protection settlement in West Virginia history.
“My office continues to closely monitor Frontier’s compliance with our settlement,” Morrisey said in a press release. “This agreement improves connectivity for thousands in West Virginia. It’s also crucial to helping the state compete in this ever evolving world of digital technology.”
The agreement requires Frontier to invest at least $150 million in capital expenditures to increase internet speeds across West Virginia and lower monthly rates for affected consumers.
Frontier has spent $72.6 million in capital expenditures, funds which the company reports has increased internet speeds to 9,910 customers throughout West Virginia, according to the company’s most recent quarterly report filed with the AG's office.
The AG's office, between 2013 and 2015, received multiple complaints from customers paying for Frontier’s high-speed service, which advertised internet speeds up to 6 megabits per second.
Many consumers said their Frontier service was slow or did not meet expectations. The subsequent investigation found many customers expecting internet speeds “up to 6 Mbps” frequently received speeds 1.5 Mbps or lower.
Frontier denied any allegation of wrongdoing and entered into the settlement to resolve disputed claims without the necessity of protracted and expensive litigation.
The settlement specifically required Frontier to invest $150 million, in addition to its $180 million in planned upgrades as part of the federal government’s Connect America Fund II program.
The discounted monthly rate set bills for about 27,500 affected customers at $9.99 – a reduction expected to cost Frontier $6.25 million per year, which will shrink with time as the discount remains in effect until mandated improvements allow Frontier to increase existing download speeds.
Those with questions about the settlement can contact the AG's Consumer Protection Division at 800-368-8808 or visit the office online at http://www.wvago.gov.