Representatives from Frontier Communications kept saying help is on the way but did not provide explicit schedules of planned upgrades for the county. The representative from Comcast attended but received no questions. He had time to think about a movie his family might watch that night without having to wait for it to buffer mid-movie because the minimum internet speed suggested for streaming an HD movie is 5.0 mbps, not 2.49 mbps, which did I mention is what we have here at the farm?
But I digress.
Upgrading outdated copper lines with fiber optic cable in rural areas will require time and a whole lot of money. Until those upgrades occur, communications companies hould not be allowed to charge high speed internet rates to customers receiving less than the state standard of 4 mbps. Period.
I made this comment to West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey in a letter dated Oct. 11. An attorney from the AG's office called and is looking into this as a consumer protection issues. I have also been in contact with Frontier Communications and am setting up a meeting to go over their service maps for Jefferson County to learn about their timetable for upgrading broadband speeds.
I would urge anyone paying for high speed internet but getting less than the state standard of 4.0 mbps to contact the West Virginia consumer protection office (304 558- 8986) or file a written complaint on the form provided at consu...@wvago.gov. There are free sites available to check download speed such as speedtest.net. According to this site, the global average for download speed is 15 mbps.
At a recent state broadband conference I attended communication providers proudly stated 91 percent of the state now has access to broadband. I asked what percentage of the state has access to broadband speeds greater than 4 mbps but received no answer.
Portions of Jefferson County are underserved when it comes to high speed internet service. It is going to take pressure and complaints from consumers to change that fact. Do your part: contact the Attorney General's Office of Consumer Protection.
Widmyer is a Jefferson County commissioner. This commentary was first published by The Observer of Jefferson County.