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Moab, UT

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    Unreliable phone service violates Utah code

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    Public submissions to The Times-Independent can range from press releases to obituaries to feature stories and news. All submissions are subject to editorial review and approval.

    Editor,

    When I moved to Castleton 45 years ago, there were only two telephone lines in the entire Castle Valley area. Each line served as many as five households. We each had a unique ring pattern. Back then, those party lines were adequate since there were fewer than ten residences in Castle Valley and Castleton combined. There were no personal computers. There was no internet.

    Today, telephones and internet access are a necessity. But for more than three months, many Castle Valley area residents have not had reliable telephone or internet service through Frontier Communications. Our telephone and internet service goes down numerous times every day for a total of anywhere from 40 minutes to more than two hours.

    Many of us rely on telephone service through Frontier. Cell service is non-existent in much of the valley. When phones are down, there is obviously no access to 911.

    Utah Code 54-3-1 states: “Every public utility shall furnish, provide and maintain such service….as will be in all respects adequate, efficient, just and reasonable.” It appears that Frontier has been in violation of this code. Complaints have been filed with the Federal Communications Commission, the Utah Public Utilities Commission, and the Utah Public Service Commission. Responses from Frontier have been inadequate or non-existent.

    The problem with Castle Valley’s service was exacerbated when Frontier installed a new “radio” in mid-December. Frontier’s Utah manager admitted that they installed equipment that “none of our guys have training with.” I appreciate the fact that Frontier’s field techs have spent many hours attempting to restore stable service. But Frontier’s management is apparently unwilling to provide field personnel with the resources necessary to fix the problem. The new equipment seems to be either wrong for the intended purpose, faulty, or a failed patch for Frontier’s horribly outdated infrastructure.

    Despite the constant intermittent outages and complaints to various government agencies, Frontier has not credited a single penny to our bills. At the very least, Frontier should credit every affected customer a substantial amount for three months of unreliable service.

    More importantly, government agencies should require Frontier, as a public utility, to comply with the law and restore reliable service to the Castle Valley area. They will only do so if Frontier’s customers strenuously object to the appalling level of service provided for the past several months. Simple complaint forms are available online, if you are lucky enough to have internet access.

    – Frank Mendonca
    Castleton

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