Frontier responds to nonprofit’s complaints

WINDOW ROCK

Frontier Communications on Tuesday issued an apology and explanation for failing to fulfill a commitment it made to a Shiprock nonprofit to extend broadband internet service to a number of families with school-age children who were having trouble getting enough bandwidth for online classes.

The allegations by the nonprofit Navajo Family Voices were detailed in a front-page Navajo Times article on March 11 (“Families left high and dry; Frontier files for bankruptcy after promising internet connections”).

NFV Director Josey Foo said the company had been promising the connections for over a year and hadn’t followed through.

Joe Gamble, Frontier’s West Region senior vice president, said in a prepared statement, “Frontier is committed to serving Navajo communities, apologizes for the frustration and inconvenience this may have caused our customers.

“We will continue serving all those customers currently connected through this program and refund Navajo Family Voices all the service charges collected to date,” he said.

“We will also start fresh with Navajo Family Voices and the program, adding customer households as capacity allows,” he added. “Frontier also continues to explore ways to expand service to unserved locations so more households and tribal communities can gain the benefits of access to broadband services.”

The company acknowledged it had originally committed to connect 15 to 20 households in Northern Navajo, offering discounted services through NFV, a nonprofit serving families of children with health and other issues in the Shiprock area.

“We have since determined a number of the residences are either outside Frontier’s service area,” Gamble said, “situated in non-serviceable locations, or physically too far from our network, and, as a result, Frontier cannot provide service to those few.”

The company said it is adding network enhancements over the coming months to expand capacity in Shiprock, Newcomb and Tohatchi chapters that will enable it to connect more customers, but “due to high demand, some Frontier service areas currently have limited capacity and we cannot offer new broadband accounts there.”

Frontier also said it will collaborate with other providers who may be able to serve customers outside its service territory or too far away from its facilities to get a good signal.
Foo said she appreciated the company’s response.

“We welcome help always,” she said. “Providers combining services is especially a very good thing. So many families, though, are in very tough physical locations for either tower or cable internet services.”


About The Author

Cindy Yurth

Cindy Yurth is the Tséyi' Bureau reporter, covering the Central Agency of the Navajo Nation. Her other beats include agriculture and Arizona state politics. She holds a bachelor’s degree in technical journalism from Colorado State University with a cognate in geology. She has been in the news business since 1980 and with the Navajo Times since 2005, and is the author of “Exploring the Navajo Nation Chapter by Chapter.” She can be reached at cyurth@navajotimes.com.

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