Business

Tarboro mayor asks attorney general to investigate Suddenlink Communications

Posted January 15, 2021 6:22 p.m. EST
Updated January 15, 2021 6:49 p.m. EST

— Tarboro joins Rocky Mount, New Bern and Washington in voicing complaints against Internet and cable provider Suddenlink Communications. Mayor Joe Pitt sent a formal letter to North Carolina’s Attorney General Josh Stein, asking him to look into the company’s business practices.

"It’s been many years of complaints," says Pitt, "The main thing is now the complaints are pairing up with this pandemic. People are going home from school and not able to access their televisions."

In his letter, Pitts says customers report a "broad range of issues" such as "escalating costs, lack of access to service, excessively long outages, poor communication/responses to outages."

Joining Pitts in asking for changes is Tarboro’s Town Manager, Troy Lewis, and Councilmember Tate Mayo.

Mayo says he’s a Suddenlink customer because there’s a lack of other service providers in the area. Last summer, Mayo says he lost service for 19 days after a line was severed outside his home.

"With everybody working and schooling from home, that’s 19 days you have to use a personal hotspot just to access the Internet," Mayo says he had to get the FCC and the Attorney General’s office involved before he was refunded for 17 of those 19 days.

"We’re in the 21st century and intermittently we go back to the 20th century," he said.

Tarboro’s leaders feel as if they’ve run out of options and don’t have the power to do more.

"It is frustrating because we have very little options or power to affect any change in this matter," says Lewis, the town’s manager, "Which is why we’re asking the attorney general’s office to get involved."

Stein confirmed to WRAL News that he received Pitts’ letter. He’s asking for more customers to file complaints directly with his office.

"We really do need to hear from consumers and get complaints from them so we know the specific nature of people’s issues," say Stein, "Then our objective would be to work with Suddenlink to get those resolved. If they don’t get resolved then, obviously, it goes to a different level."

Stein says he also wants to have more broadband access in Eastern North Carolina. He’s urging legislators to invest $15 million dollars from a recent satellite network settlement to expand broadband in that part of our state.

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