AT&T nightmare: woman had to wait more than 3 months to get broadband in her new home


A woman sitting at home and talking to a news reporter.  On the screen, the text says:
Enlarge / Lovie Newman tells News 4 San Antonio that she had to wait almost four months to receive Internet service from AT&T.

AT&T reportedly forced a San Antonio woman to wait nearly four months to get Internet service at her new home, and it came close to solving the problem until she asked a local news station for help.

“Lovie Newman planned a smooth transition to her new home, including scheduling a transfer for her AT&T high-speed Internet service in advance,” according to a report Tuesday by News 4 San Antonio.

The home Newman moved into was apparently newly built and not yet connected to AT & T’s network, but it appears the months-long wait was primarily due to AT&T technician errors and customer service issues. In what Newman called “a complete nightmare,” AT&T continually rejected his attempts to obtain Internet service.

Newman scheduled an installation appointment for April 1, but when the day came, AT&T called to say “we have to reschedule,” he told the news station. Initially, Newman “was told there was an outage in his new neighborhood on the far East Side,” reported News 4 journalist Darian Trotter. “Technicians were working on it, but she says they had no idea when service would be restored to the area.”

“I didn’t get a response, and I kept getting reprogrammed and pushed to different departments,” Newman said.

“You never came to my house”

Newman was able to schedule another installation appointment in May after the outage was fixed, but the installers never came to his home. “For three and a half months, he says he made countless efforts to connect, including the one time he got an appointment and anxiously waited for technicians to arrive,” News 4 said.

Newman was at home waiting for the installers to arrive when he got a message from AT&T saying, “We miss you,” he told News 4. “I was like, ‘You never came to my house. How did you miss me?’ “AT&T installers had mistakenly gone to a different address in Alamo Heights, according to the report.

“Out of desperation, he considered switching service providers,” but “an online search of at least three companies revealed that service in his neighborhood was not available.” The television station’s video report shows that those three providers were Charter Spectrum, Grande Communications, and Google Fiber.

“I put in my address and it said ‘not available,'” Newman said. Newman feared losing his job due to the lack of Internet service from AT&T, but News 4 said “Newman’s employer was able to make special arrangements for him to continue working.”

Even though AT&T has been delayed for months, its website says the service should be available to Newman. We enter Newman’s address into AT & T’s online availability checker, and it reports that fiber-to-the-home service is available where she lives:

AT&T gets moving after listening to a reporter

After months of waiting for AT&T to provide a broadband connection, Newman contacted Trotter on News 4 more than two weeks ago. The station contacted AT&T, and while the company did not initially respond to the media organization, the prospect of news coverage caught AT&T’s attention.

The news video showed an email sent to Newman on July 8 by an employee at an AT&T executive office. “The AT&T Office of the President (OOP) received a communication from a local media reporter,” the email read. “However, since you are our customer, I wanted to contact you directly.”

The week after that July 8 email, News 4 “received a statement from a spokeswoman saying, ‘Our team has already started investigating this and is in contact with Ms. Newman,'” Trotter said in the report. news. Newman was still waiting for the service to be installed this week when the News 4 report aired. “I want my internet up and running by this weekend,” he told the station.

Because News 4 pushed AT&T into action, it appears Newman is finally close to connecting, nearly four months after AT&T abruptly canceled its first install appointment. “After we got involved, Newman says technicians recently installed wiring and an Internet box was installed outside his home,” Trotter said at the end of his report. “Everything is ready, you just need to schedule the installation.”

We reached out to Newman and AT&T today to find out if the service was installed or will be installed soon and we will update this article if we get new information.

Update at 3pm ET: AT&T responded by saying, “We have apologized to Ms. Newman and we are going to fix this. We will install service at her new address this weekend.”

Unfortunately, Newman’s AT&T nightmare isn’t unique.

Newman’s ordeal is similar to the one we wrote about in April. In that case, Comcast had an error on its coverage map and falsely told customers that Internet service would be available at their new home. The couple, Edward Koll and Jo Narkon, later paid Comcast $ 5,000 for a network extension, but the project continued to be delayed. Comcast finally provided Internet service after Koll contacted Ars and we contacted Comcast’s public relations department.

Koll and Narkon ended up waiting six months for cable Internet and had to use unreliable, data-limited cellular service the entire time. We’ve written other stories over the years about Comcast falsely telling customers that they can get the service. After our article on Koll and Narkon published a few months ago, we heard from a few more people in Comcast territory who were incorrectly told that Internet service would be available in their homes.

We also wrote about a frustrated family using AT&T in Mississippi in November 2020. AT&T had falsely promised Kathie McNamee and her family about 5 Mbps U-verse Internet service, which is slow by current standards but still much faster. of what they ended up getting. . Ultimately, AT&T only provided familiar speeds of up to 768 kbps over its legacy DSL network and hasn’t upgraded its network there or in many other areas where extremely slow AT&T speeds are the norm.

This type of AT&T home Internet problem is nothing new. In 2015, we wrote about a family in Georgia who couldn’t get Internet from AT&T on a home they bought even though their neighbors and previous homeowners had service. AT&T said it did not have enough capacity to attract additional customers.


arstechnica.com

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