North Carolina Reaches $20 Million Settlement with Frontier

Consumer Protection

The state alleged the company lied to customers about their internet speeds.

Jake Neenan North Carolina Reaches $20 Million Settlement with Frontier Photo of North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein from the North Carolina Department of Public Safety

April 17, 2024 – The North Carolina Attorney General announced on Tuesday a $20 million settlement with Frontier over allegations the company lied to customers about their internet speeds.

The state had sued the company along with five other states and the Federal Trade Commission in 2021 after receiving complaints that customers were receiving lower speeds than they were led to believe they would get when signing up with Frontier.

A federal court dismissed North Carolina’s case on jurisdictional grounds, but the state continued investigating the company. Frontier also settled the FTC suit in 2022, agreeing to pay more than $8 million in penalties and spend $60 million on new infrastructure in California.

Like in the FTC settlement, Frontier did not admit to any wrongdoing in the North Carolina settlement. Per the terms of the deal, the company will have to spend $20 million on new fiber optic internet connections throughout the state over the next four years, a significant upgrade from the older DSL network customers found lacking. That’s in addition to the company’s existing obligations under Federal Communications Commission programs and state grant programs.

The company will also pay an additional $300,000 in restitution to consumers, which the state department of justice said in a statement it is setting up a program to distribute.

Frontier will also have to stop signing up new customers in areas served by overly congested DSLAMs – access points in DSL networks – and inform existing customers if the actual speeds they can expect to receive are lower than the maximum that they subscribed to. Those existing customers will have the option to discontinue their plans without any fees, but the state’s department of justice noted many won’t have another option.

“In much of western North Carolina, Frontier is people’s only choice for internet service,” the North Carolina DOJ said in its statement.