REGIONAL— The Minnesota Department of Commerce has opened an investigation into Frontier Communications in the wake of widespread complaints and reporting by the Timberjay.
A Timberjay investigation last November revealed a laundry list of complaints from Frontier customers for both phone and Internet service. The state of Minnesota does impose performance standards on telecommunications providers licensed in the state and they can be held accountable for failure to meet their obligations.
Anne Thom, Consumer Affairs Supervisor at the state’s Public Utilities Commission, told the Timberjay last week that the PUC had decided to initiate an inquiry after reports had prompted them to review their database of complaints— revealing “a large volume,” sufficient to begin the investigation.
While the PUC’s consumer affairs office seeks to mediate such complaints, the agency said “many of them remain unresolved.”
The Commerce Department posted notice of the investigation on Monday, and is asking customers of Frontier who have experienced problems with the company’s service quality, customer service, or billing practices to submit comments on their experiences to the state by May 25, at 4:30 p.m.
The investigation is handled by the Commerce Department, but is likely to involve the Attorney General’s office and possibly other state agencies, which have until May 11 to submit their own initial investigation findings to the Commerce Department.
While other agencies are involved in the investigation, any determination stemming from the findings would be the responsibility of the PUC.
The Commerce Department has created what’s known as a “docket,” which will serve as a publically-accessible file of all of the documents and comments developed and received during the course of the state’s investigation.
Members of the public have three options for commenting on their experiences with Frontier, including:
• Submitting comments through the Speak Up! function on the home page of the PUC’s website at mn.gov/puc. From there click on Open for Comment, which will provide a list of the dockets open for public comment. Look for docket number 18-122.
• Email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org, and reference the docket number, 18-122.
• Write a letter to the Public Utilities Commission, 121 7th Place East, Suite 350, St. Paul, MN 55101. Remember to include the docket number in your correspondence.
The comments received will help state regulators as they investigate the extent of the problems with Frontier, according to Ross Corsin, spokesperson for the Department of Commerce. As part of the investigation, said Corsin, state officials will analyze the complaints and comments that come in from the public and ask Frontier to respond to and provide documentation to support their responses.
The Timberjay will be reporting on developments in the investigation as they occur.