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Delegates seek to hold Suddenlink accountable

Published: Oct. 25, 2021 at 8:00 PM EDT
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ST. ALBANS, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Delegates Mick Bates, R-Raleigh, and Daniel Linville, R-Cabell, agree with the many West Virginians who have said there ought to be a way to hold their shoddy internet providers accountable. And it’s why the two are inviting residents to send complaints about the provider Suddenlink directly to them at cableconcerns@wvhouse.gov.

“In keeping with our work to make providers aware of the needs of our constituents, we are pleased to announce the creation of cableconcerns@wvhouse.gov as a clearinghouse for any West Virginian who has been unable to resolve their concerns with Suddenlink through more traditional channels,” said Linville, who serves as chairman of the House Committee on Technology and Infrastructure.

WSAZ spoke with a Suddenlink customer in St. Albans who has been dealing with issues for years. Justin Tarman tries to complete certain work responsibilities from home, but the internet is spotty and unreliable.

“We have delegates that are trying to push for it which is awesome,” said Tarman. “They shouldn’t have to. They have the potential to be something good. They have that potential, they got the lines ran they got everything they need, they just need to upgrade.”

State lawmakers are ready to take action.

“Concerns sent to this email address will allow Delegate Bates, my staff with the Committee on Technology and Infrastructure, and I to monitor, track, and follow up on those concerns with this provider, and it also will provide us with valuable information going forward as we craft legislation, host hearings and work to better advance broadband infrastructure throughout the state,” Linville said.

Linville recently announced he will lead a broadband caucus, open to legislators from both parties from both the House and the Senate. This group will ensure that not only are West Virginians’ connectivity concerns properly addressed, but also that the influx of federal money being directed to improve broadband serves its intended purpose.

“Now, more than ever, we must keep a careful eye on these efforts and these dollars,” Linville said. “No one wants to live through another router-gate, and we plan to stay in lock-step with every initiative to guarantee no dollars are wasted and we get what we’re paying for.”

Bates said after sharing his own personal struggles with Suddenlink publicly, he’s been inundated with similar stories from his community.

“Of all the elected officials I have worked with who are trying to fix the damn internet and hold Suddenlink accountable, none has been more helpful to me than Chairman Linville,” Bates said. “Delegate Linville has stepped up once again and helped to establish this central email address just like the one he set up for Frontier issues, and I thank him for his assistance and leadership.”

West Virginians are encouraged to share concerns about customer service and billing problems as well as problems with service coverage.

“This will be a way for us to efficiently help West Virginians directly and to collect information on what legislation we should pursue during the next legislative session, so we are better able to regulate this industry and ensure people get what they pay for,” Bates said.

Linville added that the House Committee on Technology and Infrastructure has requested Suddenlink appear to present and field questions during a January meeting, which will include addressing many of the public’s concerns.

Suddenlink released the following statement:

“Suddenlink is dedicated to providing our customers with the best connectivity experience possible, including exceptional service and support. In fact, we’ve made recent upgrades to our customer care system and have more planned to ensure our customers are receiving timely and expert help, and have already seen increases in customer satisfaction due to these investments. We look forward to working closely with the House of Delegates to respond to and resolve any customer concerns that are submitted.”

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