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Published: Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Page: 5A

Frontier Communications is asking the state Public Service Commission to dismiss a competitor's complaint.

Frontier refuted allegations that it has stifled competition among high-speed Internet carriers in West Virginia, and failed to keep promises to allow other companies to lease unused fiber-optic cable.

Frontier urged the commission to reject Citynet's request for an investigation of Frontier's business practices.

"Under no circumstances do Citynet's allegations form a reasonable basis for the commission to open a general investigation, wrote Frontier lawyer Joe Starsick in response to Citynet's complaint.

Last month, Bridgeport-based Citynet alleged that Frontier refuses to honor a decade-old agreement that allows competing Internet carriers to lease fiber-optic cable from Frontier. Such agreements are designed to spur competition and keep Internet prices reasonable for consumers in West Virginia.

In its response to the complaint, Frontier said its hasn't violated its "interconnection agreement with Citynet. Frontier added that Citynet's allegations were based on "unsubstantiated belief.

"As our response indicates, we deny Citynet's allegations, Frontier spokesman Dan Page said Monday. "Furthermore, our response asserts the allegations do not warrant a general investigation.

In 2003, Citynet and Verizon signed an agreement that allowed Citynet to lease unused fiber from Verizon. The Public Service Commission approved the deal.

In 2010, Frontier bought Verizon's telephone landlines and fiber network in West Virginia, promising to keep its agreements with Citynet and other competitors.

But Citynet, which primarily serves business customers, has alleged that Frontier and Verizon have rejected 24 of Citynet's 25 requests to lease unused fiber, in violation of the PSC-approved agreements.

In last week's filing, Frontier responded that it didn't have fiber available - or wasn't required to provide the specific fiber lines that Citynet requested. Frontier also said it didn't have records of Citynet's correspondence with Verizon.

Citynet alleged that Frontier tried to charge "astronomical prices for the use of Frontier's high-capacity circuits, which Citynet needs to run Internet service to new customers. Frontier said Citynet never requested the circuit prices, according to the filing with the PSC.

In the complaint, Citynet also said Frontier refused to supply maps of its fiber routes. Frontier responded that it would cost $1,764 to create the maps, but Citynet never agreed to pay for them.

Citynet and Frontier have been at odds for years.

Citynet CEO Jim Martin has accused Frontier of using federal stimulus funds to build a high-speed Internet network in West Virginia that solely benefits Frontier.

Last December, Frontier executives urged state officials not to give Citynet any leftover stimulus funds from the statewide project.

On Monday, Martin said Frontier has repeatedly touted its work to expand high-speed Internet in West Virginia.

"Yet even with all of these supposed investments, Frontier continually does not have the infrastructure that it can make available to competitive providers as required by law, Martin said. "We are confident the Public Service Commission will do the right thing for the people of West Virginia by requiring Frontier to honor their contractual obligations ... which will result in improved services for individuals and businesses across the state.

Reach Eric Eyre at, 304-348-4869 or follow @EricEyre on Twitter.

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