State Senator James L. Seward (R/C/I/Ref – Oneonta) today called on the New York State Department of Public Service and Frontier Communications to review and remedy recent problems with phone service in western Otsego County.

“Reliable communication service is essential in the event of an emergency, for economic development, and for quality of life,” said Senator Seward. “Recent telephone outages in a rural portion of my senate district isolated customers and compromised safety. Adding insult to injury, the response from telephone carrier Frontier Communications has been fully inadequate.”

A number of constituents who reside in western Otsego County have contacted Senator Seward’s office to complain about recent telephone landline outages, some lasting as long as ten days.

“People are understandably frustrated. Many have contacted both Frontier Communications and the Public Service Commission only to have their calls go unanswered. This is a rural area which lacks cellular phone service and broadband – losing the only means of communication is unacceptable,” Seward added.

Edwin Frazier Jr., chair of the Otsego County Board of Representatives Public Safety and Legal Affairs Committee, also contacted Senator Seward to formally request assistance in holding Frontier Communications accountable.

Senator Seward is calling on Frontier Communications to address deficiencies in rural portions of their coverage area immediately along with making financial restitution to customers who were without service. Senator Seward also requested a full review by the New York State Public Service Commission.

In a letter to State Public Service Commissioner John Rhodes, Senator Seward writes:

“Dependable and functional landline service is a necessity in many of our rural upstate communities where cell phone service is limited. Reliable landline service is not only a matter of convenience, but of safety. Customers should not be without the ability to call for emergency assistance if the need arises, and that is happening now. Something must be done to remedy the situation. And it must be done now.”

Senator Seward also urged Frontier Communications President & CEO Daniel McCarthy to take immediate steps to improve phone service, along with crediting customers for the time they were without coverage:

“Consistently poor services in regions of Frontier threatens emergency response and risks lives. It is not acceptable. Not to me. Not to my constituents. Not to your customers. The problem is not isolated and transcends town lines within my district. Constituents have relayed their frustration of being without service for many days, with little or no assistance or explanation from your company. I hope their monthly bills reflect the periods of time they lacked for service.”