State launches second investigation into Frontier Communications

Here, a tree is used to support cables.
A tree in Ceylon, Minn., support the cables for Frontier Communications' telephone service in September 2018. The Minnesota Department of Commerce launched its second investigation into the company on Thursday.
Mark Steil | MPR News file

The Minnesota Department of Commerce on Tuesday launched another investigation into the billing practices of Frontier Communications, an internet and phone company that serves about 90,000 mainly rural customers in Minnesota.

The investigation will examine whether Frontier failed to tell customers about their service options, including allegations that the company added long-distance services without customers' knowledge and claims that it failed to disclose to customers that they could separate phone and internet service.

Officials are asking customers of Frontier and its affiliate, Citizens Telecommunications of Minnesota, to contact the Commerce Department if they've had billing and customer service problems.

The investigation follows a previous Frontier probe which focused on service quality and reliability. Many had complained the service was undependable. The Commerce Department and the company settled those claims earlier this year.

"The Public Utilities Commission did approve a settlement with Frontier, and the goal there was really to get the company on track to providing better service to Minnesotans,” said Katherine Blauvelt, assistant commissioner of the Department of Commerce. “Our investigation today is on issues that weren't settled, and that is primarily around billing and potential concerns with billing practices."

Frontier representatives have not yet responded to a request for comment.

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