Friday, November 17, 2017
Business

Frontier Communications still working to fix isolated service outages

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TAMPA — Frontier Communications officials said Wednesday that they are still working to fix isolated service outages as they continue their takeover of Verizon's TV, Internet and landline phone service.

The company now acknowledges that some customers may still be affected by the transition from Verizon that started Friday for customers in Florida, Texas and California. Frontier has more than 500,000 customers in the Tampa Bay region.

In fact, some Frontier customers continue to report to the Tampa Bay Times that they have been without either phone or Internet service for six days.

"The important thing is that we'll be getting those situations addressed as soon as possible," Frontier spokesman Bob Elek said. "I can tell you we have people working tirelessly to address any kind of service issue. We are not at all diminishing what people are experiencing. In fact, we're very upset about it and don't blame customers for being upset as well."

Frontier officials, however, still believe that some problems are unrelated to the transition and are just everyday glitches that any provider encounters, including some of those who lost service during a severe rain and lightning storm Saturday.

But other customers are convinced their problems are tied to the transition.

Dr. Henry E. Wiley III, a Tampa dermatologist, said his office has been without Internet since Friday morning, an outage that continued through Wednesday. He said he has a backup system through another provider. But that isn't a perfect workaround, providing a slower connection. And his practice is still unable to bill customers paying by credit card.

"This does wear down my staff," Wiley said. "Frontier says they are working on it. But when you call them, nobody knows what's going on."

One of the largest ongoing outages in the nation tied to the transition from Verizon to Frontier involves 17 schools in the Westminster School District, south of Los Angeles. Trish Montgomery, a spokeswoman for the district, said they have been without Internet and telephone service since Friday. About 9,500 students had been out on spring break, though they returned Tuesday.

Montgomery said Frontier informed the district that service would be returned today. "It's a frustrating situation," Montgomery said.

Locally, Barney's Motorcycles and Marine also had been without Internet service since Friday at its locations in St. Petersburg, Brandon and Brooksville. But service was restored Wednesday afternoon.

Dr. David Rothberg, a Palm Harbor ophthalmologist who is part of the Diagnostic Clinic Medical Group, said the group has threatened to file suit against Frontier for an Internet outage that started Friday and still had not been resolved by late Wednesday.

Three Frontier trucks appeared at the practice Wednesday, but Rothberg said technicians blamed a network issue in Tampa on his outage, so they could not immediately reconnect him. Rothberg noted that a Frontier customer service representative told him his case had been raised from a Level 3 to a Level 4 priority. But he wasn't sure what that meant.

"We've still not been able to find out how many levels there are," Rothberg said.

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

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