Attorney General Tong announces settlement with Frontier Communications

Press Releases

08/31/2022

Attorney General Tong Announces Settlement with Frontier Communications to Expand High-Speed ​​Internet Access, End Hidden Internet Fees, and Protect Consumers from Unacceptable Marketing and Sales Tactics

Monetary and injunctive terms worth over $60 million

(Hartford, CT) – Attorney General William Tong today announced a settlement with Frontier Communications worth more than $60 million to dramatically expand high-speed Internet access for Frontier customers in communities. economically struggling, ending a hidden $6.99 monthly Internet surcharge, and forcing significant improvements in Frontier’s marketing and customer service. The settlement resolves a joint investigation by the Office of the Attorney General and the Department of Consumer Protection into whether Frontier deceived or misled consumers in the marketing and sale of Internet services.

In this investigation, the bureaus jointly reviewed more than 1,400 consumer complaints about Frontier. These complaints related to charges for previously returned equipment, poor internet quality, unsatisfactory customer service, charges that exceeded promised rates, and charges that continued after services were cancelled.

“Frontier has disappointed Connecticut consumers. Their DSL internet quality was slow and unreliable, and their customer service was unacceptable. They added hidden fees, charged families for returned equipment, and continued to charge customers even after services were canceled. It ends now. Our settlement requires Frontier to invest in high-quality, high-speed fiber optics for communities without adequate Internet options today, providing access to the 40,000 most-affected households with below-average DSL service. Additionally, Frontier has agreed to overhaul its customer service and end the hidden $6.99 monthly internet fee that cost Connecticut families $84 last year alone. Frontier must pay an additional $1 million to the state and pay $200,000 to directly compensate consumers who have been harmed,” said Attorney General Tong. “We intend to hold Frontier accountable for every word of this agreement. If you continue to have any issues with Frontier, we want to hear from you.

Customers who continue to have problems with Internet Frontier service should file an online complaint with the Office of the Attorney General here: https://www.dir.ct.gov/ag/complaint/.

“The internet is an essential utility for most people, especially through the challenges of recent years,” said DCP Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull. “Improving customer service and ending hidden fees is a positive outcome for everyone, and the increased access to high-speed Internet promised by this settlement will benefit our most economically challenged communities. Thank you to the hardworking staff of DCP and the Attorney General’s Office for their efforts in investigating thousands of complaints and reaching this settlement that will benefit Connecticut consumers.

Today’s settlement requires Frontier to invest $42.5 million over the next 3.5 years to upgrade existing and outdated DSL Internet service to fiber Internet. The agreement requires that at least half of these upgrades be made in economically disadvantaged communities, both urban and rural, providing more reliable high-speed Internet access to as many as 40,000 families in need. The agreement provides protections for consumers who benefit from the upgrade, including a 45-day period to decide whether or not to upgrade to Internet fiber, protections against early termination or disconnection fees if they choose to cancel Frontier service, access to new promotional rates for customers and information on internet subsidies through the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). The CPA is offering a rebate of up to $30 per month on the cost of Internet service for eligible low-income consumers.

The deal also requires Frontier to stop collecting a hidden $6.99 monthly “internet infrastructure surcharge” that has cost customers the surcharge of about $84 a year and about $16 million statewide. Last year. The agreement further requires Frontier to make a $1 million payment to the state and provide $200,000 for credits and refunds to consumers who filed complaints beginning in 2019.

The agreement mandates a comprehensive list of accountability measures for the next six years, including new pricing and billing disclosures, advertising disclosures that address the company’s DSL representations, requirements for the company to provide promised speeds or provides options for consumers who do not receive promised speeds, assurances that the company will implement transparent and fair equipment cancellation and return processes, and more. If the company fails to meet its high-speed Internet upgrade commitments, the Attorney General’s Office is entitled to seek $6 million in penalties.

Paralegal Specialist Casey Rybak, Legal Investigator Caylee Ribeiro, Assistant Attorneys General Lauren Bidra, Brendan Flynn, John Wright and Jose Rene Martinez, and Assistant Deputy Attorney General Mike Wertheimer, Chief of the Consumer Protection Section, assisted the Attorney General in this case.

Twitter: @AGWilliamTong

Facebook: CT Attorney General


Media Contact:

Elizabeth Benton
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Consumer requests:

860-808-5318
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