Frontier faces West Va. customer lawsuit over Internet speeds, outages

Frontier is facing more trouble in its West Virginia market as a group of customers has filed a class-action lawsuit against the service provider, claiming the broadband speeds it delivered did not match up with what it advertised, reports the West Virginia Gazette.

According to the lawsuit, which was filed last week in Lincoln County Circuit Court, Frontier "throttled" Internet speeds of its Internet Max 12 Mbps speed tier in rural parts of the state without telling customers. The suit alleges that a number of customers were getting speeds lower than 1 Mbps, while still having to pay for the 12 Mbps service.

The complaint said that the telco's "false advertising" of the Internet Max service is a violation of the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act.

"The Internet service provided by Frontier does not come anywhere close to the speeds advertised," wrote Benjamin Sheridan, a lawyer who filed the lawsuit on behalf of three Frontier customers.

Dan Page, a Frontier spokesman, told the West Virginia Gazette that these customers got the speeds they purchased.

"Although we cannot guarantee Internet speeds due to numerous factors, such as traffic on the Internet and the capabilities of a customer's computer, Frontier tested each plaintiff's line and found that in all cases the service met or exceeded the 'up to' broadband speeds to which they subscribed," Page said.

Sheridan wrote in the suit that Frontier has "a monopoly on Internet services in most of West Virginia." The lawsuit alleges that in rural communities Frontier is sometimes the only Internet provider and customers can only get lower speed services.  

Frontier is not the only company that's come under fire for false advertising about broadband speeds. Fellow ILEC CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) was asked by the National Advertising Division (NAD) to modify the way it compares its Internet speeds with those offered by Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA).

This latest suit is just one of two issues Frontier is facing in what is its largest operating state. Earlier this month, the telco came under investigation for possible mishandling of government subsidy funds to build a $42 million fiber-based middle mile network.

For more:
- West Virginia Gazette has this article

Related articles:
Frontier's West Va. fiber dealings under federal scrutiny
Frontier gets final PURA approval for AT&T Connecticut wireline asset acquisition
Frontier's Jureller: We like acquisitions that help us scale
Connecticut regulators deny Frontier's AT&T wireline acquisition