Hey Frontier? Remember how a Comcast contractor got that company some very unwanted public attention for screwing up installs? That means that your guys should try and avoid to do the same thing. I’ve gotten a report that several UTOPIA customers in Tremonton recently had their ATA for phone service hosed after a Frontier tech reconnected service without the customer’s authorization. The voltage from the line caused problems both making and receiving calls and required replacement equipment. The evidence? Previously disconnected lines from the ILEC had been reconnected to the building wiring after UTOPIA attached its line to the building wiring. That’s a piece of the NTI that only the phone company has access to.
Not only am I pretty sure that this kind of behavior is illegal, it’s also dangerous. What if these customers had needed to call emergency responders? You guys have much more important things to concentrate on anyway (like your impending bankruptcy after buying up those rural Verizon lines).
Several months ago, FuzeCore said it was looking into using UTOPIA lines in Tremonton to serve the neighboring town of Garfield Garland. Looks like as of 6 weeks ago, they started doing it over a 6-mile radius that includes the neighboring towns of Elwood, Collingston, Fielding, Bothwell, and Deweyville. (Seriously, I don’t know how I missed the press release and Google Alerts only just now picked it up.)
Per the conversation we had at that time, FuzeCore was planning on connection speeds upwards of 10Mbps up and down with VoIP service. The website shows that they’re advertising 8Mbps+, so this is in about the right range. The best competitor Frontier can do is 3Mbps DSL with no mention of their upstream speeds or if their onerous caps will be making a comeback.
Wireless backhaul is one of the markets that I’ve been hoping UTOPIA would chase since it can greatly extend the reach and revenues of the network. Hats off to FuzeCore for using their wireless expertise from Idaho to make it happen!
After posting that Frontier Communications was giving competing telcos a hard time with porting numbers, commenter Aaron Wilcox, the Utah Account Manager for Frontier, advised that Frontier would be more than happy to port numbers given the proper paperwork was filed with the Utah Public Services Commission. At least one service provider called bunk on that claim citing that under current telecommunications law, the Utah PSC doesn’t issue the Certificates of Public Convenience and Necessity that Aaron refers to if the service area in question has less than 5,000 lines. Documents I received from the PSC indicated that they suspended LNP waivers for rural telecoms, but those documents only reference wireline-to-wireless transfers, not wireline-to-wireline.
So which is it? Can customers in Tremonton port their numbers or does Frontier have those numbers permanently locked down? Is the suspension of the wavier a boon only to wireless companies? Could customers get their phone number to a UTOPIA provider by transferring to a wireless carrier and then porting the number again? It sounds like Frontier has been taking advantage of the current regulatory structure and resulting confusion to keep customers locked into their service.
Frontier Communications, the incumbent phone carrier in Tremonton, has decided to give UTOPIA a helping hand by implementing a 5GB monthly cap on all of their DSL customers to drive them into the arms of a competitor. By comparison, the lowest cap available from a UTOPIA provider is 20 times that at 100GB per month. When the service starts rolling out in September and October, I’m sure that UTOPIA will see a good number of signups from angry customers who don’t appreciate per-byte billing.
One of two possibilities exists: they arrogantly think they’re so much better that nobody will switch or don’t see how boneheaded a move this is. Either way, it highlights the need for a bit of competition in the marketplace.