Saturday, November 18, 2017
Business

Frontier Communications, customers disagree on transition from Verizon FiOS

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TAMPA — Frontier Communications apologized to customers Monday for any service disruptions during its takeover of Verizon's TV, Internet and landline phone services.

Even as it did so, the company's regional president, Mike Flynn, said in an interview that the transition has gone very well overall and that the vast majority of the more than 500,000 customers in Tampa Bay and the region experienced no significant problems.

What customers have reported, however, to the Tampa Bay Times and on social media are Internet service outages that started Friday and, for some, continued through Monday.

Flynn said any issues experienced currently are just normal problems associated with any service provider and are not related to the Verizon transition.

"We're all set and in great shape," Flynn said. "At this point, we've got everything rolling. There's nothing that I'm aware of right now that ties to" the transition from Verizon.

"Was it perfect here 100 percent? No," he said before adding, "We're feeling really, really good and technicians out there are feeling good. I couldn't be more pleased on this Monday."

Flynn said Frontier would not automatically reimburse customers whose service may have been cut off during the transition. But he said customers can call Frontier's customer service to request a prorated credit if they had a prolonged service outage. He indicated the company would consider giving a credit in such cases.

The company said in a separate statement sent to media outlets that it would not assess customers late fees if their bill came due during the transition period in the first month with Frontier.

That statement appeared to suggest that some problems may be ongoing, saying, "We are devoting significant time and resources to successfully resolving any and all issues because we understand and appreciate that consumers rely on our products and services to conduct business, communicate with friends and family, and access entertainment."

Customers suffering through long service interruptions, meanwhile, said they remained puzzled by Frontier's assertions since Friday that all significant problems tied to the transition have been resolved.

Dr. David Rothberg, a Palm Harbor ophthalmologist who is part of the Diagnostic Clinic Medical Group, said his practice has been severely impacted by the loss of Internet service that started Friday and continued all day Monday.

He said he hasn't been able to pull up patient records, check an appointment schedule or bill patients.

"The most frustrating thing is reading (the newspaper) and seeing whoever is in charge saying there are no problems," Rothberg said. "Obviously, there are problems."

Rothberg said he has managed a partial workaround by using a Bright House Networks connection used by other offices in the medical group network.

Mike Repka, a St. Petersburg resident, said his Internet service worked Friday but then went out early Saturday and was still not working Monday.

"We had some problems under Verizon, but never an outage of more than a couple of hours," he said.

Barney's Motorcycles and Marine, which has locations in St. Petersburg, Brandon and Brooksville, lost Frontier Internet service Friday morning, according to the company that manages Barney's network. It was still out late Monday.

Karolann Veszio of Oldsmar said she lost her Internet service early Friday, and it had been out all day Monday.

"I think if they would just acknowledge the problem, I would feel better," she said.

Andrew Corn, chief of EBS Networks of Tarpon Springs, which manages information technology for companies, said Frontier "has a publicity issue." He said he thought the transition to Frontier may have been done too quickly, overstressing the company's technicians and customer service employees.

He said the suggestion that ongoing customer problems are unrelated to the transition "isn't credible at all."

Contact William R. Levesque at [email protected] Follow @Times_Levesque.

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