Washington community says they're being held hostage by cable company

Frontier Communications promised people they'd be able to buy their services but haven't lived up to the agreement. It's leaving many stuck with just one choice, but some cities in King and Snohomish Counties are fighting back.

KENMORE, Wash. – Kenmore customers are fed up with an cable monopoly that they say isn’t serving the consumer well.

Sasha Philip watches mostly the news these days.

She hears lots of talk about free markets, unrestrained capitalism, and individual choice, but when it comes to the cable company she's using, the channels seem to be crossed.

"We're just not a priority," she said.

In 2009, Frontier Communications took over the Verizon cable franchises in Philip's home of Kenmore and many more communities across Western Washington. The company promised to offer healthy competition within two years for customers whose only choice was Comcast.

That promise hasn't been kept in several communities. Eight years later, 2,000 people in Kenmore alone are still waiting for the channels to change.

"We live in a place where we have choices and believe competition is a good thing and we don't have that," said Philip. "Right now, it's essentially a monopoly by Comcast. If I don't like their prices or their offerings I have nothing else."

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Philip runs her business out of her home. Frontier does offer Internet, but it's DSL, and it's slow.

So, it's back to Comcast where things are only marginally better.

"I would say generally it's fast enough, except when it goes down completely,” Philip said. “It's either ok or it's non-existent."

The City of Kenmore is now going after Frontier, demanding the company keep its promise and get service to everybody.

It's fining Frontier $30,000 on top of another $45,000 it collected in 2014.

The City of Kenmore said the problem appears to be Frontier is allocating its resources to new markets in California and Texas.

A Frontier spokesman would only say the company is reviewing the situation with Kenmore and the company is "committed to serving" its customers in Washington.

"Frontier has left half of our city without that choice, and we're holding them to their commitments," said Mayor David Baker.

The city estimates it will be next year at the earliest before the coverage is in place.

Meantime, Philip has tuned out.

"At this point, I just don't think they care," she said.

Copyright 2017 KING


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