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Frontier customers without service



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January 15, 2014 - Groveland Twp.- First no power for days. Then, no phone— for more than three weeks.

Mary and John Cesarz, township residents and Frontier customers, lost their home phone service Dec. 22. They weren't alone, and as of Jan. 15, were still disconnected, along with up to 55 other Frontier customers in the area.

"They work for a few minutes and go right back out again," said Mary, who adds that she lives on Bald Eagle Lake Road between Allen and Bird roads, where cell phone service is often sketchy or unavailable. "It didn't bother me that much at first, it was nice to have peace and quiet. But we had a death in the family Saturday and we are having a hard time keeping up with what is going on. I don't know what we would do if we needed 9-1-1."

Cesarz said for the past three weeks, she has had to move to various areas in her home in an attempt to get a cell signal if she wants to make a phone call. Her home line, provided by Frontier, has worked intermittently. She filed a complaint online and was sent a reply e-mail from Texas, telling her a part was on back order. She contacted the Public Service Commission, and a representative there said Frontier had told them the same.

Dana Berkes, Frontier public relations manager, confirmed that 56 Frontier customers in Groveland Township, had lost their phone service Dec. 22 following an ice storm due to an equipment failure. The equipment was a connector between internet and phone service that transfers data from customers' homes.

"That piece broke and in truth, we've done lots and lots of due diligence," said Berkes. "Our engineering teams worked to create different fixes to make sure we could restore service, all the while in the process of replacing that piece of equipment. We contacted customers and stayed in constant contact and did credits."

Berkes called the ice storm, equipment failure and recent severe weather, "the perfect storm."

In what she called a "heroic effort" to restore service, Berkes said Frontier used a multi-pronged approach— trying a series of fixes while planning to replace the equipment. The fixes were "spotty" at best, said Cesarz.

"I think its important to note, that commercial power was restored over a week later," Berkes said. "Why did it take 3 weeks? A week was power restoration. Compounded with the snowstorm, and intermittent fixes and equipment replacement, it makes it obvious Frontier was working as quickly and diligently as possible. Elderly customers are our lifeblood and we serve rural areas, we understand that service is critical."

Berkes was unsure why delivery of the new equipment took so long, but said it arrived Jan. 14, and most affected customers "should be switched over" by Jan. 15. On Wednesday afternoon, Cesarz reported she was still having phone problems.

"I told one of the gals I talked to, we're senior citizens and the phone line is our lifeline to the world," she said.

Frontier customers still without home phone service can e-mail

dana.berkes@ftr.com or call 260-461-3038.

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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