With so many people depending on cell phones as their only means of communication, a loss of service could cause serious problems for those who have no other way of making emergency calls.
Recent outages within the county has caused much concern for residents across Harlan County and the surrounding area. Wallins resident Brenda Trammell said she has called AT&T twice and each time they tell her “they are working on the problem.”
“Something is not right,” said Trammell. “We have always had fair service before. Now we have no service at all.”
Bob Rutherford, of Cumberland, said the loss of services is not just in the Wallins area, “but all over eastern Kentucky.”
”The fact of the matter is, they have sold more phones than the towers can handle,” said Rutherford.
Stoney Fork resident Angela Patterson-Bielko said her service has been “in and out for over a week, which is nothing unusual.”
“Calls are dropped frequently,” said Bielko. “Also, when calling someone in this area you have to call several (five or more) times to get through — not to mention delayed voice mail. I pay over $200 a month like many other people and can’t use my phone efficiently in this area. Something needs to be done.”
Shannon Duncan-Miller, of Wallins, said she got rid of her land line phone “since no one ever used it, and everybody in the home has cell phones.”
“I hope we don’t have an emergency where we need to call for help because if so, we’re in big trouble,” said Miller. “If something happens to one of our children while they are at practice and no one is able to get hold of me, I’ll be highly upset.”
After contacting an AT&T customer representative on Wednesday she said work began July 21 to correct a problem impacting AT&T voice and data customers.
“Regarding our DSL, voice and data customers in or near northeast Virginia, the issue in question is we have been working for the last four days,” said AT&T Customer Service Representative Marquita Lockhart. “I’m not sure exactly when the problem occurred prior to the date that a technician was dispatched to open the actual ticket for the services we have lost. We do have technicians working on the single cell site and the single cell site outage was caused by transport.”
Lockhart said they are working on a blown protector.
“Once the information is restored and the site is approved to be restored, then of course, the ticket will close and the power cycle should be done for the devices for the customers that are around and within that area,” Lockhart said. “Hopefully, this will fix the issue in question.”
Lockhart said AT&T is hopeful the issue will be taken care of by the end of the week. She said the cell site is being modified, and hopefully, everything will be corrected when this ticket is closed.
“We definitely apologize for any inconvenience this has caused any of the customers,” said Lockhart. “All of our customers are valued. We definitely hate that the customer has had this inconvenience and we know how important it is for them to have these cellular devices. For the loss, we will be willing to assist customers with their requests.”
Lockhart said customers have the ability to manage their accounts online at att.com. She said all updates and anything affiliated with the network incident may be updated and researched online. Customers who have direct questions and concerns about AT&T services may contact them by dialing 611 from their handset or calling 1-800-331-0500.
Reach Nola Sizemore at 606-573-4510 or at email@example.com