FTC, six states sue Frontier Communications over internet speed 'misrepresentations'

FTC, six states sue Frontier Communications over internet speed 'misrepresentations'
© Getty Images

Frontier Communications is accused of misrepresenting internet speeds it advertised and charged for, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and six state attorneys general. 

The lawsuit alleges Frontier Communications, which provides service to about 1.3 million consumers across 25 states, did not provide many consumers with the maximum speeds they were promised, and the speeds consumers did receive often fell short of what was touted in the plans they had purchased. 

The complaint alleges in “numerous instances” the company billed, charged, collected or attempted to collect payment from consumers for “more expensive and higher-speed tiers” of internet service than Frontier has provided or has been capable of providing such consumers. 

ADVERTISEMENT

A spokesperson for Frontier pushed back on the allegations and said the company will “present a vigorous defense.” 

“Frontier believes the lawsuit is without merit. The plaintiffs' complaint includes baseless allegations, overstates any possible monetary harm to Frontier's customers and disregards important facts,” the spokesperson said in a statement. 

The spokesperson said Frontier offers service in “some of the country's most rural areas that often have challenging terrain, are more sparsely populated and are the most difficult to serve,” and said its internet speeds have “been clearly and accurately articulated, defined and described in the Company's marketing materials and disclosures.”

The commissioners voted unanimously to authorize filing the complaint. The FTC was joined by attorneys general from Arizona, Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina and Wisconsin, as well as the district attorney’s offices of Los Angeles County and Riverside County on behalf of California.

The company has settled in enforcement cases brought by attorneys general of West Virginia, New York, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Washington and Minnesota since 2015, but has denied any wrongdoing, according to the complaint. 

“Despite these settlements, Frontier has failed to remedy its practices, and consumers continue to be harmed nationwide,” the complaint states. 

A spokesperson for Frontier Communications did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

--Updated at 3:40 p.m.