UPDATE | Frontier responds to Lincoln County 911 complaint

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WEST HAMLIN, W.Va. (WSAZ) – UPDATE 8/13/19 @ 12 a.m.
Lincoln 911 Director Allen Holder filed an official complaint on July 30 after at least Lincoln and Mason County 911 centers were without phone service for about 12 hours on July 17, 2019.This was a failure in a system that was designed to never have an outage.

Lincoln County 911 on Tuesday filed a formal complaint against Frontier Communications, according to the Public Service Commission of West Virginia. (Pixabay / MGN)

In its response on Monday, Frontier says that the outage was caused by thieves trying to steal copper by cutting cables between Hurricane and Milton.

Frontier says they responded by calling a construction crew and re-routing calls to Boone County. They also said that the repairs were made as soon as possible.

The company says they are concerned that Lincoln County 911 was unsatisfied with communication between them during the outage. The company has a full time 911 service manager for West Virginia.

Prior to the complaint, they believed there was no significant communications issues between them. Frontier plans to reach out to Lincoln County 911 to make sure that any communications issues between the service manager and the center are addressed.

Holder doesn't believe the company has fully answered his questions, and he says they still want to know what is going to be done to prevent outages, like the one they had in July, from happening in the future because the system is designed to be fail-proof.

Lincoln County 911 reports the outage happened on July 17, but according to Frontier's response the copper was not stolen until July 18.



UPDATE 7/31/19 @ 5:30 p.m.
The official complaint filed by Lincoln County 911 against Frontier Communications states that the loss of emergency service in West Virginia has become common with little or no explanation for the cause of the outages.

Lincoln 911 director Allen Holder filed the complaint after at least Lincoln and Mason County 911 centers were without phone service for about 12 hours on July 17, 2019. A failure in a system that was designed to never have an outage.

"It's very crucial," Beth Adkins said. "Our cell phone service does not work around here, so you have to come to Hamlin to be able to get cell phone service."

Adkins remembers when this current phone system was installed in 1987, saying service was fine until the past few years.

"For the past several several months, it goes in and out all the time," Adkins said. "But lately, we can't get a phone call out and every now and then we will get a phone call in. Most of the time we can't get any service at all."

All calls were still answered during the outage. They were redirected to surrounding counties that were still in service. Emergency 911 operators said that they get approximately 30 calls in an average 12-hour shift.

Frontier has 10 days from when the complaint was filed to issue a response to the problems and offer solutions to prevent them from happening again in the future.



ORIGINAL STORY 7/30/19 @ 11:07 p.m.
Lincoln County 911 on Tuesday filed a formal complaint against Frontier Communications, according to the Public Service Commission of West Virginia.

Frontier, a telephone and internet provider, has 10 days to make a formal response about how to solve the problem addressed in the complaint.

The communications company has been under recent scrutiny by the PSC for quality of service issues. Click here for more. Recently, the state PSC and Frontier agreed on a firm to conduct a management audit of the utility provider.

Schumaker and Company will perform the audit and publish a final report within the next six months. Frontier will pay for the audit. The Commission said that the audit should focus on Frontier's ability to provide coverage to emergency services.

Last week, the PSC released the following statement in a news release:

"After receiving numerous and increasing complaints regarding Frontier's quality of service, including concerns from emergency services, 911 centers and senior citizens, on August 30, 2018, the Commission ordered a focused management audit of Frontier to be conducted by a qualified outside auditing firm identified through a request for proposals and paid for by Frontier. The focused management audit will give Frontier and the Commission a comprehensive ability to understand and prioritize the challenges facing Frontier."