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Frustrated rural communities fight for lane on information highway

There is growing frustration among some living in rural areas, who find themselves fighting for a lane on the information highway.

Posted: Mar 14, 2019 6:13 PM

There is growing frustration among some living in rural areas, who find themselves fighting for a lane on the information highway.

"Numerous times we're booted off. It's hard to navigate the internet if you have more than one person on, and with three kids and a wife who's an educator, it's very difficult to use the internet sufficiently," says David Poyer, of Deansboro. Numerous calls to provider, Frontier, have brought frustration, not resolution.

"It's taken this last time, a month for them to fix it or even show up to do anything. They initally sent us a modem that didn't resolve the issue. Took seven days to get a modem. Then they gave us a repair time of 12 days to get a technician here. And on that 12th day, they actually canceled, saying there was an area-wide outage," said Poyer.

Poyer's brother-in-law, David Williams, has had Frontier since opening his fencing business, in Deansboro, 19 years ago.

"I literally have to go to a coffee shop and get on a laptop to do estimates, which I think is ridiculous," said Williams.

Williams, a member of the Marshall Town Board, also fears that absence of dependable broadband service will hinder development.

"We've got a lot of upside potential; we've got a lot of farmland that could be developed, but we're being held back by what really I think shouldn't be a factor and that's high-speed broadband."

From Frontier Spokesman Javier Mendoza, VP of Corporate Communications and External Affairs: "Frontier understands our rural customers desire the same high-speed Internet connections as larger communities enjoy. The reality is that higher speeds of Internet are much more difficult and costly to provide in rural, less densely populated areas. The area identified by NBC is not covered by a New York state-supported BPO broadband grant. To date, Frontier has deployed increased broadband to approximately 15,000 locations through use of NY BPO grant awards. Many of these locations are receiving fiber-to-the-home service.

While we acknowledge that not every location in Frontier's footprint may benefit, Frontier has expanded or improved access to 29,380 CAF-eligible locations through year end 2018. Frontier has used CAF funds in compliance with all FCC rules and requirements and continues to meet all CAF II program and reporting obligations.

Whereas Frontier partners with federal and state programs to expand broadband service, the programs ―not Frontier― determine the eligible locations for upgrades."

Congressman Anthony Brindisi says he will continue to pursue relief for rural taxpayers and homeowners.

"Too many people in our area are seeing cable bills that are too high and internet speeds that are too slow. Customers deserve to get what they pay for. We need stronger oversight of these companies to make sure they are living up to their obligations, especially when they receive taxpayer dollars. This is unacceptable. I will continue working to demand the FCC hold these companies accountable and make expanding rural broadband a priority," said Brindisi.

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