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Frontier no longer offers TV service to new customers. Regulators say it’s not illegal.

Frontier Communications no longer offers cable TV to its new customers, but the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority says it does not appear to be illegal and has denied the state’s request to investigate the matter.

Burt Cohen, attorney for the State Office of the Consumers Council, said Frontier failed to notify PURA of the change to its Vantage cable TV product during the 2020 hearings on the company’s plans to exit. federal Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

“The record … shows that Frontier and its parent company said the outcome of the reorganization would have no direct or immediate impact on Frontier’s service to Connecticut consumers,” Cohen wrote to PURA in his Oct. 13 request for an investigation by regulators. “Consumers will be irreparably hurt by Frontier’s actions in shutting down the Vantage TV offering for a number of reasons. “

In response, Timothy Jensen, a Glastonbury attorney representing Frontier, confirmed in an October 27 letter to PURA that the company “is not currently offering Vantage TV to new customers”.

“Frontier is under no legal obligation to provide this competitive video service to anyone or everyone in Connecticut,” Jensen wrote in a letter to PURA officials.

PURA agreed and on November 3 denied the OCC’s request for an investigation.

Joe Cooper, a spokesperson for PURA, said the OCC’s request “is based on the contention that Frontier’s failure to provide its competitive video service to new customers constitutes a violation of the law requiring investigation by the Authority ”.

“The Authority finds that the OCC did not (…) support a notorious legal violation by Frontier for failing to offer its competitive video service to new customers,” said Cooper.

Frontier, which emerged from Chapter 11 on May 1, has not publicly announced the end of service for new customers.

A company spokesperson referred Hearst Connecticut Media to a Nov. 3 third quarter earnings conference call with financial analysts, in which Frontier CFO Scott Beasley said the company “took the decision to stop marketing the video to new customers earlier this year “.

“It’s important to note that while video generates significant revenue, it only generates minimal profit due to the high content costs,” Beasley said.

He did not specifically refer to Vantage’s cable TV offering in his remarks.

Cohen said the OCC “is examining our options, but an appeal to dismiss an investigation request is not likely.”

“Our position is that Frontier should offer its Vantage TV to any customer who wants it, assuming of course that Frontier has the technical capacity to provide that service to that customer,” he said. “PURA is basically looking the other way because Frontier now provides its Vantage TV service to households in a neighborhood, but if you’re new to that neighborhood, Frontier may deny you that service.”

Cohen said if Frontier’s goal is “to get out of the cable business, he must ask the agency to do so, just as SNET did in 2001 when it sought to stop offering. a cable service under the name SNET Personal Vision “.

“In the situation of SNET Personal Vision, the DPUC (the regulatory predecessor of PURA) had to deal with the transition from the outage,” he said. “Frontier never informed PURA of this issue and appeared to be carrying out this ‘closure’ plan under the radar.”

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