AT&T service in areas of Macoupin County is
THE ISSUE: Residents, law enforcement, and legislators have all reported inferior service
OUR VIEW: AT & T only gives lip service to customer service, coverage issues.
CARLINVILLE (March 22, 2018) – Two weeks ago we published a front page story on the poor phone coverage being continued by AT & T in Macoupin County. The story was brought to light when residents continually called the newspaper to complain about spotty service within the county, and especially late last year when during an emergency the call wasn’t going through and first responders had a delayed response to a family’s call for help.
Gerald Brand of Hornsby, who serves on the Macoupin/Montgomery County Crimestoppers Board, said the coverage problems began last fall and became progressively worse. It’s not just one part of the county that is affected. It’s across the vastly rural areas of Macoupin County.
Such is also the case with AT & T’s customer service. Despite numerous calls, they finally admitted to Brand that the only tower that was working was one located behind Mac’s Fire and Safety in Litchfield. The rest of their towers the representative told Brand were “downgraded,” whatever that means but certainly the opposite of being upgraded.
However, when contacted by this newspaper Jim Kimberly, director of corporate communications for AT & T Global Media Relations refuted what the AT & T representative had told Brand. “We’re aware of the issues in Macoupin County and continue to work to improve service for customers in the area,” said Kimberly. In the last two years we have made more than 1,100 wireless network upgrades in Illinois, including in Macoupin County.” After Brand filed a formal complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) he received a letter from AT & T.
Again, the letter reiterated that network issues were not found in the questioned area, adding that service won’t work in all areas at all times as indicated in the Terms and Conditions of Service. Well how comforting is that? Perhaps AT & T needs to imagine itself as the customer last fall when an ATV accident occurred and the call for emergency assistance kept getting disconnected. What a convenient cop out to nonchalantly say the service won’t work at all times.
Macoupin County Sheriff Shawn Kahl has made numerous complaints to AT & T as well, both as an individual and on behalf of the sheriff’s department. Not having all technological resources available can hinder what law enforcement is doing to keep the community safe. Kahl noted that many people only have cell phones and if they don’t work how can they call 9-1-1.
State Senator Andy Manar is equally as frustrated and said his message is simple. “Stop treating rural America as if we are second class citizens and start investing in us.”
AT & T’s spotty service is reminiscent of the 60’s movie, Boy Did I Get a Wrong Number, except this time it’s no laughing matter. We urge our area legislators to continue to make AT & T take action and address the coverage issues. And we urge residents to do their part in advocating for improved customer service. Take the time to call AT & T at 1-800-331-0500 and make your voice heard.