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Complaints prompt state utilities board to schedule hearing on telephone outages, poor services

By: - September 20, 2022 3:43 pm

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LINCOLN — More than 200 complaints of outages and poor customer service from three telephone companies has prompted a state utilities board to schedule a public hearing.

The Nebraska Public Service Commission will take testimony about service problems from customers of CenturyLink, Windstream and Frontier in October in Omaha.

Most of the complaints came from the Omaha and Valentine areas, according to a PSC spokeswoman, and include gripes about weeklong service outages, slow response to service calls and an inability to talk to a customer service agent.

One complaint from a Gretna customer stated that their telephone service was out and their carrier said it would take eight days to get a service technician out to look at it. A Harvard customer stated that it took 13 days for a technician to come to their home, and the visit didn’t correct the outage.

“Telephone service quality issues are something we are always concerned with,” said Dan Watermeier, the chairman of the PSC. “The length of time it takes carriers to resolve consumer
problems and their reluctance to repair or replace aging infrastructure needs to be addressed.”

The public hearing will be held Oct. 26 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the South Campus of Metropolitan Community College, 2909 Edward Babe Gomez Ave., in Omaha. The hearing will be in the Center for Advanced Manufacturing, Room 120.

Members of the public are invited to submit in-person public testimony during the hearing or written testimony via email to [email protected]

A testimony form is available at  http://psc.nebraska.gov/telecommunications/c-5303-public-hearing

The PSC’s last public hearing on service issues was April 2019 in Oshkosh.

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Paul Hammel
Paul Hammel

Senior Reporter Paul Hammel has covered the Nebraska Legislature and Nebraska state government for decades. He started his career reporting for the Omaha Sun and later, editing the Papillion Times group in suburban Omaha. He joined the Lincoln Journal-Star as a sports enterprise reporter, and then a roving reporter covering southeast Nebraska. In 1990, he was hired by the Omaha World-Herald as a legislative reporter. Later, for 15 years, he roamed the state covering all kinds of news and feature stories. In the past decade, he served as chief of the Lincoln Bureau and enterprise reporter. Paul has won awards for reporting from Great Plains Journalism, the Associated Press, Nebraska Newspaper Association and Suburban Newspapers of America. A native of Ralston, Nebraska, he is vice president of the John G. Neihardt Foundation, a member of the Nebraska Hop Growers and a volunteer caretaker of Irvingdale Park in Lincoln.

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