FTC Wants Frontier to Reimburse Customers Over Slow Internet Speeds

The proposed order would also require Frontier to lay fiber optics and let customers drop their service without penalty.

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Andrew Blok is a former editor for CNET who covered home energy, with a focus on solar. As an environmental journalist, he navigates the changing energy landscape to help people make smart energy decisions. He's a graduate of the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism at Michigan State and has written for several publications in the Great Lakes region, including Great Lakes Now and Environmental Health News, since 2019. You can find him in western Michigan watching birds.
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Frontier logo on a tablet on a blue background.

The FTC wants Frontier to prove its speeds are as advertised.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The Federal Trade Commission wants Frontier Communications to prove its internet speeds are as advertised and reimburse customers they may have misled, according to a proposed order filed Thursday with a US district court in California. 

The move follows a 2021 lawsuit filed by the FTC and six states alleging that Frontier wasn't delivering the speeds customers were paying for.

The proposed order would "require Frontier to substantiate its internet speed claims at a customer-by-customer level for new and complaining customers and notify customers when it is unable to do so," according to the FTC, which approved the order with a 4-0 vote.

Locating local internet providers

The order would also require Frontier to provide fiber optic internet service to 60,000 residences in California and pay $8.5 million in civil penalties. The order would also limit Frontier from signing up more DSL customers in areas where high volume slows down speeds and require the company to notify customers receiving speeds below what they pay for. Some customers would receive discounted bills or be able to easily drop the service.

In a statement on Thursday, a Frontier spokesperson said the company admitted no wrongdoing in this settlement. 

Locating local internet providers

"We settled the lawsuit in good faith to put it behind us so we could focus on our business -- that's in the best interest of all our stakeholders, and especially our customers," the spokesperson said. "Our commitment is to our customers and providing them with access to high-speed internet and improving our service in rural and underserved areas."

Two California county district attorneys' offices joined the order. It needs to be signed by the district court judge before it takes effect.