Frontier responds to $160M settlement over slower-than-advertised internet speeds

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A Frontier Communications executive, speaking one day after the company agreed to a $160 million consumer-protection settlement in West Virginia, said the company has re-prioritized efforts to meet high-speed internet expectations.

“We want people to have great internet. Therefore, we’re investing,” Rich O’Brien, Frontier vice president of regional marketing, told MetroNews “Talkline” on Friday. “We’re moving as fast as we can.”

His appearance came a day after state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced the settlement, which followed a flood of customer complaints about slower-than-advertised internet service.

For Morrisey, the deal is “a game-changer for the Mountain State” because, in his view, it will lead to enhanced high-speed internet for thousands more, especially in rural areas.

Frontier agreed to put an additional $150 million into infrastructure improvements throughout West Virginia while reducing monthly customer bills by $10 million total during a three-year period.

Bill reductions for specified Frontier customers could take effect by late January, Morrisey said.

As terms of that settlement, Frontier admitted no wrongdoing.

“For this particular case, our attorney general, Patrick Morrisey, asked us to come to his office and to address some questions and some concerns that he had,” said O’Brien. He described the settlement as a “partnership” with the AG to improve service.

“We felt, because we’re good corporate citizens, that we should not only listen to those, but enter into an agreement that proves that we’re not just interested in West Virginia, but investing in West Virginia.”

Morrisey called the agreement “one of the largest consumer protection settlements in the state’s history.”

Since 2010 when Frontier first entered West Virginia, O’Brien said more than $600 million has been spent on improvements to internet service. He estimated the number of locations with broadband service in West Virginia has risen from 64 percent to more than 90 percent during the past five years despite.

“The business that we’re in requires investment and we’ll continue to do that,” O’Brien said. “Working with (Morrisey’s) office is a great opportunity to get feedback from the citizens and to respond those concerns that are out there and to put the service where it’s needed.”

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