back to article Frontier sued by FTC, six states for allegedly over-promising, under-delivering broadband

ISP Frontier Communications was sued on Wednesday by the US Federal Trade Commission and law enforcement agencies six states for allegedly misrepresenting the speed of its internet service and for billing customers for service it didn't provide. The FTC filed its complaint [PDF] with the support of Attorneys General from …

  1. Shadow Systems

    Charter is full of crap.

    An ISP accurately describing the speeds folks will get rather than the arse-pulled fiction the ISP marketing dreams up? Never. Fucking. Happens.

    Satisfied customers? More like captive ones. Depending on the terrain you may not even be able to get a cell signal much less wired broadband, so it's not like those folks have a hell of a lot of choice. Switching to satelite may be difficult if not impossible if any number of factors is in play, the least of which is trees blocking LOS to the required bit of sky.

    Difficulty in providing to rural areas that are problematic to deploy to is why the government has been giving you tax breaks, sweetheart deals, & subsidies for decades. We've already paid you ten times over the cost to run fiber optic to every home, tent, & Port-O-Potty in the nation, so STFU, stop whining, & get busy providing what you've already been paid for.

    I swear to Cthulhu's nymphomaniac grandmother that companies that have sucked on the government teat for too long should be nationalized, the C-level execs forced into cages for "many enter, only one survives" death matches, & the lone survivor placed in public stocks to be regularly, ritually beaten with wiffle ball bats as A Warning To Others not to pull similar shite...

    *Deep breath*

    I guess I'll go find my dried frog pills now...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Charter is full of crap.

      I've been pretty happy with CenturyLink DSL. Admittedly, I'm only getting 22 MBPS down instead of the 30 advertised, but I'm getting 1.8 up instead of the 1.5 advertised, and I had signed up for that speed primarily due to the improved upload speed. I had 10 down, 1 up previously, and it really was what they said it was, every time I tested it.

      Contrast with the case a few years back, when a broadband company in... New York? ran their speed tests using their best hardware, stopping all other traffic on that segment until the test was done. Then sold hardware that wasn't capable of meeting the speeds it was sold for, and even if it was capable, the ISP's systems couldn't handle all the customers at that speed anyway. The real speed was 10% of the advertised one. (Wish I could find a link. Quick DDG didn't find it, but I can't remember the company name now.)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Charter is full of crap.

        Edit: Found it. It was Charter in NY. Got the "real speed" info wrong, but got the basic idea right - "more than 900,000 customers were knowingly oversold a crappy service", as the article puts it.

        https://www.theregister.com/2018/02/20/net_neutrality_new_york_charter_lawsuit/

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    “Frontier’s rural DSL Internet service was enthusiastically welcomed when it was launched”

    So was the Model T.... that was then, the world moved on.

    The sad fact is while many countries around the world see the value of a populace enjoying good connectivity, the good ol’ US only sees the value of sweating every last buck out of the tech of yesteryear. If it wasn’t for the “captivity” factor these companies would have gone to the wall years ago, instead we see a cartel delivering 3rd world service @ 1st world prices for far too many people.

    Another example of how the system only works for the corporations (and the public servants who have their snouts in the corporate trough - or elsewhere

    1. ThatOne Silver badge
      Devil

      > Frontier’s rural DSL Internet service was enthusiastically welcomed when it was launched and has retained many satisfied customers over the years.

      Yes, that happens when you have a working monopoly: Whatever you deign give them, they will "enthusiastically welcome". Doesn't mean it's worth crap.

    2. ecofeco Silver badge

      the good ol’ US only sees the value of sweating every last buck out of everything until it fails and then pushing it some more.

      FTFY.

  3. Duncan Macdonald Silver badge
    Flame

    Yet another firm using Chapter 11

    Chapter 11 is probably the worst single bit of the entire US legal system - it allows firms to evade their debts while letting the shareholders keep the ownership of the company. If it was to be anything like a fair system then the existing shares would all be cancelled and the debtors would get new shares in the company in proportion to the debts owned to them.

  4. Falmari Silver badge

    Disregards important facts

    “Frontier offers Internet service in some of the country’s most rural areas that often have challenging terrain, are more sparsely populated and are the most difficult to serve.”

    “Frontier’s rural DSL Internet service was enthusiastically welcomed when it was launched and has retained many satisfied customers over the years.”

    The two quotes above maybe be facts but are not important and have no bearing on why they are being sued. They are being sued for advertising and selling a service the can not and do not supply. In other words, fraud.

  5. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    FAIL

    "has retained many satisfied customers"

    Those are not the ones complaining, so that is not an argument.

    And don't come complaining about how you're having trouble laying fiber in the hills. You chose the market, you're supposed to have evaluated the situation and accepted the risks.

    Finally, the Chapter 11 episode speaks of incompetent management. You didn't do a proper evaluation of what you wanted to promise, you didn't evaluate the costs properly, and now you're finding things more difficult than you'd thought. Maybe you should have thought some more beforehand.

    1. Brad Ackerman
      Holmes

      Re: "has retained many satisfied customers"

      Three could reasonably be described as "many".

  6. three5

    I was a FOIS customer for years. Generally pretty good service. Verizon sold all of their California FIOS accounts to Frontier, and the service immediately went to shit. After asking for a reduction in my bill because they couldn't provide the service that I had paid for and received from FIOS for years, they sent a tech out. He tried to steal my personally owned router, couldn't find an issue, then Frontier tried some funny accounting on my bill, and that was all in the first 2 months of them taking over the service. I'm not rural, and nothing had fundamentally changed except the owner of the network.Dropped 'em like a hot potato.

  7. Woodnag Silver badge

    Two amusements in the Frontier statement

    1. The plaintiffs’ complaint includes baseless allegations,...

    (but we won't say what they are)

    2. ...overstates any possible monetary harm to Frontier’s customers

    (so we admit that there's a harm. We disagree about the amount)

  8. Kev99

    Too bad Ohio is one of the states. And good for FCC to finally be doing its job.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I went back and looked - Ohio isn't mentioned in the article anywhere. What are you talking about?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The fhackers have taken control of the ISPs.

    PLEBS! - pockets out, hands up, and bend over - NOW!

  10. ecofeco Silver badge

    The ideal Amercian business

    As I've said many times, the ideal American business is one that forces people to pay and receive nothing in return.

    ...and people think I'm exaggerating.

    1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

      Re: The ideal Amercian business

      I think you could say the same of any business anywhere in the world. Minimal outlay for maximum return tends to be a common driving force. Some US companies take that to extremes, but it'll happen anywhere one has a real or effective monopoly.

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