Frontier says consumers don't want broadband power backup service

Frontier Communications isn't seeing its customer base ask for backup power for their wireline broadband connections to access their OTT VoIP provider to make emergency calls.

Since the telco is not finding customer demand for power backup for the broadband services it provides, Frontier said in an FCC filing that "it is premature for the Commission to examine any type of backup requirements for broadband service, and doing so risks increasing consumer costs for a service they do not demand."

The service provider said "it had previously evaluated whether to market backup power for broadband and found that there was not consumer demand."

Like other providers, Frontier is seeing that its customers will instead use their cell phones to make calls during a power outage.

"Frontier has found that consumers readily access broadband on their mobile devices during what are most often brief power outages," Frontier said.

Frontier's thesis is not that far-fetched.

A recent FCC voice telephone service report revealed that there are only 26,000 ILEC users that use an OTT interconnected voice product. This pales in comparison to the fact that there are over 322 million mobile voice subscriptions, translating into nearly three mobile voice connections for each of the 116 million U.S. households.

"Statistically, it would be unlikely that there are any more than a handful, if any, customers out of the 26,000 ILEC OTT VoIP customers nationwide that rely on it as their only voice service and depend upon it for emergency communications," Frontier said.

Frontier says that requiring service providers to offer backup power for broadband places a burden on the consumer who would have to provide power for the router, modem, computer, and any associated OTT VoIP device.

To alleviate these issues, Vonage provides an app that routes the OTT VoIP number to a mobile device in the event of a power outage, for example.

Frontier does provide backup batteries that consumers can purchase for its voice service. In parts of its FiOS territory, Frontier offers the PowerReserve DCell solution for $39.99. Outside of the FiOS footprint, Frontier offers a Belkin backup battery for sale for $39.99.

For more:
- see this FCC filing (PDF)

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