Chris Wiegman Chris Wiegman

Will We Finally Get Modern Internet?

This past weekend I was finally able to sign up for Frontier internet. That might not sound like a big deal but, if we actually get the service, it will hopefully mark the end of a battle that has taken the better part of the last 8 years since we moved here to Sarasota.

Getting started on Verizon

When we first moved to Sarasota we signed up for Verizon Fios and it worked really well. For the first year we were here we had no problems and got great speeds and service and we thought life was good.

Barely a year after we moved here, however, that changed when Verizon sold its Florida business to Frontier.

Frontier Take 1

We were familiar with Frontier when then came to Florida. They also bought out an existing provider in Southern Illinois when we lived there. At the time I came to realize that, at least then, their business plan was to buy out existing infrastructure and just let it rot, collecting all the monthly fees while investing nothing into improving or maintaining the service. Needless to say I was a bit worried about what would happen in Florida.

For about two years Frontier worked just fine. In September of 2018, however, that changed. On my first day working at home remotely for WP Engine our Frontier service went out. Normally that should be pretty routine but this was anything but. After a couple of hours of troubleshooting on the phone they determined they would need to send a tech out. This would’ve been fine except they wanted to make an appointment for 6 weeks later (I started at WP Engine in September and the first appointment they could offer me was in November). Of course, they recognized the urgency of the situation so they put us on a waitlist. Instead of 6 weeks they might be able to get a tech out in only 3-4 weeks.

Needless to say, this wasn’t going to work and seemed on par from our previous experiences with Frontier. Rather than wait or shell out hundreds of dollars for co-working I also called Xfinity. They could have a tech out the very next day to install new service. It was time to switch.

On to Xfinity… and more headaches

Xfinity was more expensive right off the bat but it at least seemed they would respond to things quickly. This was handy as, for the next almost 3 years we would have to have techs out dozens of times as their service just wasn’t reliable.

Why not go back to Frontier? It wasn’t an option. Within a few months of moving to Xfinity I tried frontier again but they no longer offered anything but DSL at 3mb in our neighborhood and that wasn’t going to cut. I would have to work it out with Xfinity.

A few times a week (some times per day) for almost three years the service went down. We went through multiple routers, modems and service calls and even paying for service calls got us no where. The answer to any problem from their support was always “it’s your equipment.” Some techs even told us they had issues further upstream from our house and it wasn’t our fault but, inevitably, the service ticket would still be marked as our fault and we would spend hours fighting the charge, again and again.

After 4 sets of routers and modems a tech finally did something last year and since then it had been rather stable but that’s not much of a consolation. Today we get 300mb down and 10mb up with a 1.2TB bandwidth limit all for the bargain price of $79/month. Then when it does go down we inevitably wind up fighting again to get anyone to even communicate much less fix the problem.

Ironically, perhaps, they did start a project last year to install all new infrastructure. They ran lines underground throughout the neighborhood, installed all the boxes and equipment and even brought drops up to the house… and then they walked away. They abandoned the project in June of 2021 without ever hooking a single house up so we’re still on the old network and subject to the slightest breeze knocking us offline for a few minutes at a time.

Back to Frontier

About a year ago I found out we did have a new [old] option again. Frontier had started offering gigabit service for cheaper using a new network of their own. It is a real fiber network which should be much more reliable than Xfinity and offers gigabit speeds both up and down, something Xfinity can only hit about 1% of. The only catch is that their system wouldn’t let me sign up for an account.

In the past year I’ve probably tried a half dozen times to sign up. I even tried by phone which required me to send in my ID, and still I couldn’t get an account. Finally this week, on yet another attempt, I had a breakthrough when their customer service person told me I couldn’t sign up because of a credit freeze. This I could handle!

Why was this so hard to figure out? Because every previous customer service rep and the site itself told me I couldn’t sign up due to a “technical error” and never could tell me what that error was. In hindsight I probably should’ve thought of the credit freeze but it just didn’t cross my mind for such a service.

Anyway, this morning I was finally able to sign up for Frontier again. I have no preconceived notions about the quality of their support but I’ve been proven wrong about their business model and will finally be on a new network with modern speeds. They could’ve even installed it on Tuesday but I have a busy week coming up so we took their next Saturday appointment on the 22nd for installation.

I can’t wait!