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WSAZ Investigates | Suddenlink restores service to family with health issue

Published: Apr. 25, 2022 at 6:30 PM EDT
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LINCOLN COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - We told you last week about David and Katherine Mounts of Lincoln County, who said they have been plagued by constant phone outages.

Katherine is a terminal heart patient, so when they weren’t getting the help they needed, they reached out to WSAZ.

“I’d been the Public Service Commission, they did nothing,” David said. “I had contacted the Attorney General’s office, they just sent me papers. And that was going to take I don’t know how long. And then my sister told me to contact you all to get something done.”

They live near Tornado, West Virginia, where cell service is unreliable, making their landline their lifeline, especially since Katherine was diagnosed with a terminal illness and she’s recently experienced two heart attacks.

“She’s a terminal heart patient sent home to pass away four and a half years ago. And you know, she’s had four strokes, ten heart attacks, and it’s vital that we have that for communication.”

We started reaching out to Suddenlink in hopes of getting their issues resolved.

After we met with David on April 18th and aired a story about them that evening, Suddenlink showed up the next day. David said they had recently told his granddaughter it would be 4-6 weeks before they could make it out.

“If it hadn’t been for you all, believe me, I’d say they still wouldn’t be here working on it,” David said. “You know, that’s the reason you all made it happen. And I sure appreciate you, the girl I talked to, appreciate your station for at least you got something started.”

We followed up with Suddenlink to ask if WSAZ had not reached out, would this have been fixed as quickly? April 20th, we were sent this statement:

“Yesterday, our field technicians investigated an issue impacting delivery of internet service to the customer’s home, which they worked on and resolved to the customer’s satisfaction. Our goal is to always provide exceptional service and support, and we apologize to the Mounts family for this experience and are providing a credit for the time they were offline.”

Since the statement from Suddenlink ignored most of the questions we asked them, we showed the original story to Lincoln County delegate Zack Maynard.

He’s also the Vice-Chairman of the House Technology and Infrastructure Committee. He said he’s all too familiar with stories like the Mounts.

“It’s a shame,” he said. “It really is, if you look at where we’re at in the 21st century and we have critically ill patients, critically ill citizens in some of these areas that are just outside of, you know, one of our biggest larger cities, and we can’t get proper phone service to him.”

We also asked Maynard about Suddenlink not answering our questions.

“It’s sad that WSAZ has to call right, and WSAZ has to do a story for them to do their job.”

WSAZ also spoke with Delegate Daniel Linville who’s the Chairman of the House Technology and Infrastructure Committee on the phone Monday morning. He said it’s a top priority to add additional consumer protections for internet services.

However, he says any potential new laws won’t be coming in this upcoming special session.

The PSC says its protocol is to defer issues that deal with internet to the Attorney General’s Office, since internet doesn’t fall under PSC jurisdiction.

Keep checking the WSAZ app for the latest information.

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