Leaders and customers call for Frontier to change

KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Leaders have stepped up to hold Frontier accountable for a lack of service reliability.

Letter written by Senator Joe Manchin to Frontier's CEO about service problems.

"Access to phone service is not a luxury; it is a critical lifeline that could mean the difference between life and death," Senator Joe Manchin said in a letter to Frontier CEO Dan McCarthy.

Manchin's letter follows the West Virginia Public service Commission opening an audit into Frontier's operation in August 2018. That was prompted by a large increase in complaints about Frontier's service.

"I don't always depend on it to work because I know it is probably not going to do that," Frontier customer Lawrence Gray said. "So it used to be a real shock when you picked it up and it didn't work. The other day when I picked it up and you couldn't get a dial tone, I was like well here we are again. It is the way it is."

Lawrence and his wife, Patrecia, said that their service has been constantly interrupted since Frontier took over their telephone and internet service in 2010.

"If we ever want to call 911 and it is not working, what do you do because we have no call phone service here," Patrecia Gray said.

Patrecia said it typically takes five to seven days for Frontier to restore their service after an outage.

"No one should ever have to think twice about whether he or she will be able to call for help," Sen. Manchin said in the letter.

Frontier declined to speak with WSAZ for this story. Vice President Javier Mendoza issued this statement: "Frontier serves only about ten percent of the state voice lines in its service area ā€“ and falling ā€“ but has 100 percent of the universal service obligation to serve the most rural and high-cost areas. Our customer base continues to decline, while the cost of service per line has increased dramatically. This has resulted in an unsustainable model for providing service in rural and high-cost areas, manifesting in increased numbers of service complaints. We plan to reach out to the stateā€™s leaders to collaboratively find solutions to this difficult challenge."

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