Frontier faces California assembly hearing over ongoing network issues

Frontier Communications is facing heat from California state lawmakers, who are calling for a speedy resolution to a month of ongoing network issues and will hold hearings this month to learn more about the impact of the outages on consumers.

Mike Gatto (D - Los Angeles), California's Utilities and Commerce Committee chairman, noted in a statement that the issues in Southern California, related to Frontier's cutover following its purchase of Verizon's wireline network in the state, are causing frustration to residential and business customers alike.

"There has been an alarming rate of telephone and internet outages in Southern California and consumers are frustrated with the lack of a solution to this months-long ordeal," said Gatto in a statement. "These problems need to be resolved swiftly. Cities are unable to live stream council meetings and residents are at risk because of the inability to dial 911 in an emergency. My committee will hold hearings on the impact on our constituents and the appropriate government response if these problems persist."

Gatto and the committee have scheduled a hearing for May 18 that will be live-streamed at 1:30 p.m. PT. Frontier and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) will attend.

In April, Frontier acquired Verizon's wireline networks in California, Florida and Texas. Right after Frontier switched over the customers and networks to its own operations, a number of customers reported outages and various other service problems. Frontier has yet to resolve all of the issues.

Frontier has not responded to a request from FierceTelecom to comment on Gatto's statement.

Dan McCarthy, CEO of Frontier, said during the first quarter earnings call that the telco has resolved the majority of the network issues and that it will be using its own customer service teams to address any lingering issues.

"We have our customer service teams back to full strength, and we will be reducing reliance on the temporary partner," McCarthy said during the earnings call, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript. "We expect this to have a significant positive impact on the customer experience. All service issues related to the conversion have been substantially resolved, and the level of reported outages is now trending at approximately the levels we expect for these properties."

McCarthy's statement has been of little comfort for a number of consumers in California, Texas and Florida, where local news outlets report that many are still being impacted by the network transition.

The telco said it would have all of the remaining network issues resolved by the middle of April, but customers continue to see problems.

One of those customers is Santa Fe Springs, California resident Marlene Vernava, an 83-year old woman who is connected to an oxygen tank 24 hours a day. She told a Los Angeles NBC affiliate that her voice service was out for seven days. 

Vernava's landline voice connection is important because it is connected to her medical alert system that tells family and doctors if something is wrong.

For more:
- Broadband Reports has this article
- see this statement
- NBC 4 Southern California has this article
- see this release

Related articles:
Frontier's McCarthy: Verizon asset integration could have impact on Q2 subscriber adds
CenturyLink, FairPoint and Frontier protest special access changes, say it will impact rural market growth
Frontier stands firm on belief that regulating ILEC Ethernet access pricing could distort competition
CenturyLink, Frontier: FCC should not re-impose price regulations on special access services
Frontier says it is making 'solid progress' solving service outages in newly acquired markets

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