View Case Record, M-18-122
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Our service is not dependable at all. I have made calls to the company to ask for help. At times we have been without internet for weeks, with no service people available to come out to our rural area. It is very slow when it is working, we often need to restart even when trying to add contacts for something as simple as an email group. The note comes up that they are working to correct the temporary problem, but I know it has been going on for many months. I can't use any streaming that is offered with my Amazon account, as it can't keep up! I have been reminded by Amazon that I am not taking advantage of the services they offer, but I have tried! We are in a rural area, but I think we could do much better. Help would be much appreciated with this problem, as anyone in our small town of Comfrey that I have asked and are users of Frontier have expressed the same frustrations.
I live in the East Bethel, Minnesota, area and have had nothing but problems with Frontier since they took over from Citizens Communications back in the 1990's!
Most recently I had to contact them on multiple occasions because my DSL Internet was down. They told me it would be four days before someone would come out to look at it. When they did finally get someone out here I was told that our DSL speed was turn "way down" and that he turned it back up all the way again. The tech then said there was "noise" on the line and no matter what he did, he could not get it to go away.
I informed him that about 5-6 years ago an excavating project had severed our phone lines and caused a power surge that burned out a lot of their circuits. Many of those circuits were never replaced or upgraded. In fact, Frontier flat out said that the "Main Office" knew of the issue, but since only 163 of us were on this circuit, they were in no hurry to upgrade our switching.
The Tech turned the issue over to his boss, who sent an "expert" out to try and fix the lines. The "expert" was unsuccessful, but some good came out of it as our DSL ran faster than it ever had since we first signed up for it!
About a week later, we got notice that another repair guy was being sent out to fix our service. I called them back and said our DSL was working better than ever and that we did not put in for service. I was told it was a mistake, but the next day a Tech showed up and said he was "checking the lines." When he got thru, our same old SLOW DSL service was back again.
This prompted me to place another call to Repair complaining about how I liked having my "faster" DSL and I wanted it turned back up to full speed again. They sent another Tech out who informed me that by turning my service all the way up, I was causing failures to happen down the line because the circuits couldn't handle the traffic burden. He said he'd turn our speed up "slightly" because my wife has a home business which qualified us for "Business speed." The DSL is only slightly better now than in the past.
We were also given a new DSL Modem. Since we got our new modem, we have been unable to Network any of our wireless devices, that were all networked before with the old modem. I am also unable to download files off the Internet if I'm simultaneously Uploading a video to YouTube. This was not a problem before the new modem, so it's was probably improperly configured. When I called Repair about the issue, they took the report but never followed up on it.
Another complaint besides all the "noise" on the phone lines is that many, many days our Dial Tone doesn't function. Without a dial tone, we cannot call out, and when others try and call us, they get the "Overload Busy Signal." This happens even when our friends have tried to use an Operator to place the call. With our phones not working, we are unable to call Repair and report the problem. We simply have to wait (sometimes several hours) for our dial tone to come back on. When it does come back on, there's no longer any point to calling Repair, so these "outages" go undocumented.
I have also had trouble calling phone numbers that days before worked fine. This is also true when calling 800 numbers. When I've contacted Frontier about it, I've been told that the phone number I am trying to call is "blocked" from my Exchange. When I ask them how this can be when I've called it before, I am told it is a problem with the other phone company, NOT Frontier, so they can't do anything about it.
On that note, my wife has a cell phone, but we live in a dead zone for cell service. This means when at home, we must use the Frontier Land Line to check voice mails left on the cell number. This has not been possible for over five years now, because for what ever reason Verizon (our cell provider) won't recognize Frontier's Touch Tones. We can access features that only require a single DTMF tone, but if a code is required (string of tones) Verizon only recognizes the first tone. For instance: Press 0 to get to the main menu, this works; But, if we have to enter our code: 4719, the touch tones that Frontier generates aren't recognized by Verizon. When I contacted Verizon's Tech Department about the issue, they informed me that this was a major problem with Frontier customers, and that those of other phone providers didn't have that problem.
If that isn't bad enough, after severe weather has knocked out our power and phone, we usually get our power back on in a couple of hours, but our phone service isn't restored for many days! There was even one time about 9 years ago, where our phone service was out for almost a week and we had our new born baby in the ICU at the hospital and were unable to place or receive telephone calls during the emergency!
Fortunately I am a Ham Radio Operator, so I was able to stay in contact through radio relay messaging.
My last complaint has to do with the custom calling features offered by Frontier. At my previous residence over two decades ago, I had Qwest, not Frontier for my telephone service. I have always had Conference Calling and Call Waiting on my phone. With Qwest if I was on a Conference call, I was still able to receive phone calls through Call Waiting. When the line "beeped" I'd simply click over and take the call, while the other two parties on the Conference Call would still be talking. This is not possible with Frontier, and never has been. If I am on a Conference Call, my Call Waiting is DISABLED and callers get a busy signal if they try and call me. What good is having Call Waiting, if people are going to get a busy signal when they call you? Frontier needs to upgrade it's Firmware to allow Call Waiting during Conference Calling so it's as good as Qwest was 20-years ago!
I cannot speak to if Frontier has failed to live up to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission customer service standards, but they certainly have failed to live up to my customer service standards. Calling Frontier customer service for service issues/outages gets no answers.
On more than one occasion I have called them about internet outages at my home that have lasted 24 hours or longer, and they claim they are not aware of any outages in our area. After telling me there aren’t any outages in my area, they then tell me “I’m going to run a test on your line.” I don’t believe they actually test anything. It’s just something for them to say to make it seem like they are doing something to resolve the problem. They then say they don’t see any problems between their location and mine so it must be something at my house and they’ll have to send a tech out. The soonest they can get a tech out is at least 3 days. For a household that relies on internet service for working from home and homeschooling our children, 3 days is about equivalent to a year. In the meantime, things mysteriously start working again, signaling that the problem isn’t with my wiring or equipment. Then Frontier will send me a message or call saying my tech visit is cancelled because it turned out the problem really was on their end—something it seems like they should have known before scheduling a tech appointment.
On one particular occasion our phone service went out. I followed the directions found on their website and tested it and then called customer service from my cell phone. I got the same run around as I got for internet outages. They supposedly tested my line and saw no problems. They then scheduled a tech to come out. Again, it was going to be days before they could get there. Once the tech showed up, he spent 5 minutes at the outside junction box, came back to my door and said he had to run back to the office, and then he called me 15 minutes later to tell me that the problem was indeed a circuit board at the local office that was not working properly and not a problem at my house. So why could their supposed test on my line not see that if the problem was indeed at a location upstream from my house preventing transmission from even getting to my house/line? I firmly believe it is because they don’t actually test anything but just say they are doing so to appease irritated customers who have no idea if they are really testing anything or not.
I understand their customer service is probably outsourced to a generic call center where the operators only have a script to read, and that those answering calls don’t really have any actual diagnostic skills, but Frontier should at least keep these people informed of problems so when customers call the call center can provide real information.
I agree with Carrie, Frontier lives up to their own internal standards of what service/product at what price they can get without regard to market expectations. Open their "protected" area's up for market competition and let the market decide. Right now where I live it is either Frontier or nothing (satellite weather depending).
Topic 1 - Frontier does not contact you to let you know the service agreement is about to expire. They gladly stay quiet so that they can bill you full, undiscounted rates until you happen to catch the fact on your own that the agreement expired or your accounts payable person finally realizes that the amount is way more than it used to be. Then, when you call to talk to your customer service rep to renew it they are always "no longer working for Frontier" and you have to start over with someone new. This last renewal we didn't even get a live body that could come out and visit and negotiate face to face, it was all done by a person in a business service department somewhere.
Topic 2 - When we lose service for our 800 number or we lose phone service completely for one or all of our lines, the customer service person's first statement is always "we have no known issues in your area" and, "it must be your phone system or lines in your building, we can come out and determine the source of the problem but we will have to charge you if it's inside your building." Every time it has finally been proven that it is outside our building where the issue lies causing our outage. It has been either brittle, crumbling old twisted pair wires at some junction box between us and the main hub our lines go to (Hector where we are goes to New Ulm), a cut line, an outage at a huge regional hub for Frontier, or a problem with Frontier handling traffic from outside their own domain/world from other phone service providers. Frontier needs to stop claiming it is the customer's problem immediately and issue a trouble ticket to check their own systems so that outages can be repaired quicker for their business customers.
We have been without internet service over the weekend. Not the first time this has happened. The phone wait time to report an issue to Frontier is 25 minutes. That is just to speak to a representative. Then we are put on hold again while they try to resolve why our service is not working or is so slow. Our Megabit service to our home runs anywhere from .4 to 1.3. Very low . Not an acceptable amount, We were told the high volume of useage in the neighborhood would cause the slowness, but as explained to them we live in rural Minnesota, have not a neighbor using internet for over a mile. The problem lines within their cable lines. Our TV ls constantly buffering, during a movie. There are days the Alexa programing fades in and out. I believe Frontier has been lax in updating their cable service and equipment for our area. It is time they upgrade their technology, or the ability to get the updated technology to us.. Just because we are rural does not justify the poor quality of internet service or the slow speed in which we receive this service. We, the paying customers deserve better. We should be getting faster more efficient service. Instead of trying to grow bigger, perhaps they should work at getting better!!!
Reference M-18-122. Having lived on the U. S. Canadian border in International Falls, MN for our entire lives, we have come to expect drawbacks associated with distance between us and service(s) generally only available in metropolitan areas. However, satellite technology has been available and in use since man walked on the moon, therefore, it is beyond our comprehension why a company such as Frontier Communications who services the entire state of Minnesota, cannot provide reliable, high speed internet service to all of their customers - rural, or otherwise. We are strongly requesting that the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission support the people they represent by proving that Frontier Communications is holding their customers hostage by charging them for below standard service simply because they are "the only show in town". Thank you. Elizabeth and Richard Forsythe. Respectfully Submitted on August 17, 2018.