Citizens unite, score victory in AT&T battle

Citizens unite, score victory in AT&T battle

THE ISSUE: AT & T cell service deficiencies cause citizens to unite and demand answers from AT & T

OUR VIEW: AT & T’s plan to build two new towers within a year to address problems is one step in the right direction.

GILLESPIE (July 5, 2018) – The often spotty cellphone service affecting the Gillespie area in particular has been the source of much consternation. Residents experienced dropped calls, poor reception, or no service at all. While many residents complained to each other, or contacted AT & T but received no resolution, one resident, Gerald Brand, who lives in Hornsby, exercised the leadership in organizing his fellow citizens and filing formal complaints which ultimately resulted in AT & T conducting an investigation into the manner.

Brand filed complaints with the Federal Communication Commission, the Illinois Attorney General, and the Better Business Bureau, all of which contacted him and acknowledged they would look into the matter. Brand also organized his fellow citizens by establishing a Facebook page, Macoupin County AT & T Users Forum, which now has over 3,600 participants. And most importantly, Brand was respectfully relentless in contacting multiple people at the telecommunications giant until he got their attention. AT & T vice president of external affairs Jim Maurer acknowledged, “Anytime you can get 3,500 residents in Macoupin County or really anywhere to show up at a meeting or to all join a Facbook page, there’s got to be something wrong.”

Kudos to AT & T for having the courage to come to Gillespie and hold a town meeting. They did not have to do so. They could have simply sent out a form letter explaining how they were going to attempt to improve the situation. Conversely, we hope the fine people of Macoupin County taught AT & T something in the process. Simply, customers are customers. They pay their bills faithfully month in and month out. In turn the expect a business to provide good service and when it falls short of doing so, the business should admit the shortcoming and devise a plan of corrective action. It should not have to take the time of Brand and 3,500 other residents to make them provide the quality service they should have been providing all along.

Thank goodness for people like Brand who noted he took on the project to help everyone, not just himself. “I’m 65 years old. I’ve got nothing to prove,” he explained. “We’re all in this together,” stated Brand.

Brand is to be commended for not only what he did but more importantly how he did so in a respectful manner. Having a civil discourse with others, trying to find a solution, is ultimately how a solution can evolve. We hope AT & T gets the two new towers constructed in a timely manner and continues to monitor the quality of service on a consistent basis, not waiting until they hear complaints.