Windstream Fined Millions By FCC

Windstream Corp. has agreed to pay $2.5 million to resolve an investigation by the Federal Communications Commission’s Enforcement Bureau into the company’s rural call completion practices.

Windstream has also agreed to implement a three-year plan to ensure compliance with FCC requirements designed to combat the problem of long-distance calls failing to complete in rural areas.

Windstream typically uses third-party phone companies for their land-line long distance service.

Customers have been complaining to the FCC that their long-distance land-line calls were being dropped or didn’t go through at all.

“Long-distance calls placed to rural areas – or anywhere – should reach their destination,” said  Michele Ellison, Chief of the FCC Enforcement Bureau. “Rural call completion failures jeopardize the fundamental promise that all Americans should have access to reliable communications. If companies don’t fulfill this critical responsibility, the FCC will continue to step in.”

This is the second major lawsuit Windstream has settled so far this year.

In late February, Windstream agreed to pay $600,000 to settle claims it advertised high-speed Internet service it could not deliver.

According to the Georgia Office of Consumer Protection,  Windstream told Georgia customers it could provide them Internet speeds that it could not, and failed to explain after providing service that some speed issues were not fixable because of outdated wiring.

The Office of Consumer Protection said Windstream representatives also “allegedly misrepresented” how long it would take to fix some problems and misled customers by airing “Lifetime Price Guarantee bundle” ads which “falsely implied” Internet speeds — “up to 12 Mbps” – which the company couldn’t actually deliver.

The Little Rock, Arkansas-based company agreed to that settlement shortly before announcing it plans to lay off 400 employees nationwide.