Internet customers in western NC to benefit from provider’s $20M 

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Western North Carolina residents could see improved internet access over the next few years after a major service provider agreed to invest millions of dollars in the region.

The state Attorney General’s Office and Frontier Communications of America have reached a settlement agreement that requires Frontier to make $20 million in infrastructure investments in the state over four years, Attorney General Josh Stein announced on Tuesday.

Frontier is the sole internet option for parts of western North Carolina, according to a news release from Stein’s office.

Stein’s office had received consumer complaints that Frontier’s internet service “was slow or failed entirely,” according to the settlement, and that their internet operated at much slower speeds than what the provider promised.

Frontier denied those claims, and the settlement does not say it violated the law. The company did not immediately respond to an email Tuesday seeking comment.

After a federal court in 2021 dismissed North Carolina’s claims in a civil complaint filed by other states and the Federal Trade Commission, the state continued its investigation until the settlement was reached, the news release said.

The agreement calls for Frontier to make a $300,000 restitution payment within 60 days that will be used to help customers affected by slower speeds.

The settlement also enforces other actions the company must take, such as advertised internet speed disclosures and options for customers to cancel their internet service when the advertised speed isn’t reached.

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