No internet, no answers: frustration mounts over lengthy issues in West MI

‘It’s the same story every time… I hope we can square things up.’

RAVENNA, Mich. — Bringing high-speed internet to rural communities — including those throughout West Michigan–has been a state and federal priority for years.

Still, at the moment, there remain few options for rural customers, leaving many no place to turn when things go wrong.

“We had a storm come through. And ever since the storm came through the internet went down.”

The light on Ken and Kim Dowdy’s router turned red about three weeks ago, briefly turned green, before bouncing right back to red.

They said it was a similar story for at least a handful of other folks who live up and down the same Ravenna dirt road.

“Nobody’s getting any answers from anybody,” Ken said.

The Dowdys are Frontier Communications customers.

13 ON YOUR SIDE attempted to contact the telecommunications company using the email address provided on its website, yet hadn’t received a response at the time of publication.

Turns out, there may be a running theme there.

The Better Business Bureau of New York gave Frontier an ‘F’ rating.

Its profile on the BBB website warning of a “pattern of complaints” involving:

  • customer service issues
  • missing appointments
  • declines in service
  • billing issues

Frontier acknowledged the complaints.

The company admitted in the response attached to its BBB profile it needed to “keep things simple and deliver on our commitments.”

In April, Frontier inked a $15-million deal with Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel to improve its infrastructure over concerns it promised speeds it never delivered.

Rinse and repeat in Ohio, Washington, Minnesota and Wisconsin, where among other things, Frontier agreed to improve its “handling of service outages.”

“They’re reading off the same paper, and it’s the same story every time… I hope we can square things up,” Ken said.

The Dowdy’s haven’t had much luck finding other options out there, underscoring the plight in which many rural families regularly find themselves: limited resources and limited avenues to rectify the situation.

“It’s just a lifeline for everybody to communicate and communicate with your families on Facebook,” Ken related. “We can’t download anything. And you just can’t update anything. We can’t. We depend on it.”

As of Monday, the couple remained without internet.

The Dowdys said their neighbors had recently come back online and hoped their service would also soon be restored.

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