Connecticut has reached a $60 million settlement with cable and internet provider Frontier Communications.
As part of the agreement, the Norwalk-based company will spend more than $40 million of that amount to upgrade internet service from DSL to fiber optic cables, especially in economically distressed urban and rural communities.
The settlement resolves a state investigation into whether Frontier deceived its customers.
Connecticut Attorney General William Tong said Frontier failed to deliver advertised internet speed, charged more than promised, and billed customers for equipment they had already returned or for services they had canceled.
“One of the most frequent complaints that we hear, since I became attorney general, are complaints about Frontier and about their service,” Tong said. “We’re talking about over 1,400 individual consumer complaints about Frontier.”
Frontier has also agreed to stop billing customers a $6.99 monthly “Internet Infrastructure Surcharge,” which Tong said was a hidden fee.
The attorney general urged Frontier customers to contact his office if they still have complaints about their internet service. “If you continue to have any problems with Frontier, we want to hear from you,” Tong said.
Frontier officials indicated that the company is looking forward.
“Frontier is investing hundreds of millions of dollars to build a fiber infrastructure that will provide high speed, reliable connectivity across the State of Connecticut,” Chrissy Murray, vice president of external communications, said in a written statement. “The settlement with the State of Connecticut is primarily related to legacy DSL services and stipulates that Frontier has admitted no wrongdoing.
“We settled the investigation in good faith to put it behind us so we could focus on our business – that’s in the best interest of all our customers,” Murray added.
Frontier recently paid a $5 million fine to the state Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, after its contractors damaged underground gas and electric lines. They smashed holes, without permission, in underground pipes carrying electric cables, and inserted Frontier’s fiber optic cables.