LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - After Hurricane Laura struck Southwest Louisiana at the end of August, Suddenlink’s CEO visited Lake Charles in September and said he expected service to be fully restored by the middle of November.
The internet and cable company isn’t there yet but the company says so far, they have met their goals and now expect to achieve 90 percent service restoration by mid-November.
The owner of one business whose service was just restored feels Suddenlink should be called out for what customers have been through.
Like all businesses, Hart Eye Center depends on phone and internet service to communicate with patients, other doctors, review medical records, and more. Dr. Bill Hart says trying to communicate with Suddenlink over the last few months has been a nightmare. “I got a text on my phone that said, ‘Congratulations, your service has been restored,’ only it had not,” Hart said. “And so, then, I would every day, every day, I would call them. I’d call and call Suddenlink.”
Hart says Suddenlink representatives continued to tell him they had a work order open and that someone would be out to repair his service within 48 hours.
“Forty-eight hours would come and go and nothing would happen,” Hart said. “I’d get another text saying, ‘Congratulations, your service is restored.’ It was driving me crazy, I thought I was going nuts.” After weeks of this, Hart says service at his office was just restored and he’s trying to get the word out to patients.
“There’s something screwy in the construction of their business model and it was very hurtful and aggravating for the patients and for me,” Hart said. “I’m losing business and it cost me a ton of money to pay the answering service. It cost me $2,000 last month just for the answering service.”
Suddenlink says they apologize to the Hart Eye Center for their experience and are looking into how they can better serve customers in the future.
But Hart says the way people have been treated is unacceptable and wants Suddenlink held accountable.
“I think Suddenlink needs to have a come to Jesus meeting with their management structure and they should plan for these kind of things,” Hart said. “This is hurricane alley.”
Suddenlink released a statement saying they’ve restored about 78 percent of customers in the Lake Area, restored service to Calcasieu Parish schools and administrative locations, and donated $300,000 in cash and in-kind contributions to communities.
Still, their spokesperson admits the restoration is not complete until every customer’s service is restored and says that is their priority.
Suddenlink’s full statement:
Response to Hart Eye Center Experience
Hurricane Laura had a devastating impact on the Lake Charles community, including causing massive destruction to our Suddenlink network in the region. While our teams have been working tirelessly to rebuild our network and restore service to residents and businesses in Calcasieu Parish, with service now restored to the majority of our customers in the area, we understand the frustration felt by customers who were without connectivity for long periods of time.
We apologize to the Hart Eye Center for their experience and are looking into how we can improve our customer touchpoints to better serve our customers in the future.
We also note that all customers in Lake Charles who were without service due to Hurricane Laura will be proactively credited for the time their service was down.
As an FYI, we also note that Suddenlink service has been restored to Paul’s Rib Shack as well.
Overall Update on Suddenlink Restoration
As we’ve previously shared, Hurricane Laura destroyed the Suddenlink network in Lake Charles and other areas we serve in Calcasieu Parish. The vast majority of customers were impacted by the hurricane, with 84 percent of Suddenlink subscribers in Louisiana losing connectivity as a result.
As of today, connectivity has been restored to 91 percent of Suddenlink customers in Louisiana, and Suddenlink has met the first two initial goals of restoring service to customers in Calcasieu Parish. Currently, service has been restored service to 33,364 of 43,000 customers in Lake Charles and Calcasieu Parish, or about 77.5 percent.
Suddenlink had previously committed to achieving 70 percent restoration by November 1. Suddenlink’s dedicated crews worked around the clock to exceed this goal by four days, hitting the 70 percent goal on October 27.
Suddenlink remains committed to the goal of achieving 90 percent service restoration by mid-November, and we fully recognize our work will not be complete until every customer is back online.
Teams have completed the line installation process which involves mounting all new network wiring onto utility poles that extend to individual homes and businesses. Now the focus has turned to the work of setting and balancing our system amplifiers so that the network reaches optimal performance, as well as replacing the direct service lines to individual customers, as needed.
We are also proactively scheduling visits to homes and businesses that have been identified as having an offline modem in order to verify whether the location has been abandoned or if there are issues technicians need to resolve in order for a customer to regain service.
To make connectivity immediately available to residents in Lake Charles, Suddenlink has installed 29 hotspots in Lake Charles. These are available to anyone, whether they are customers or not.
We also worked in direct coordination with the superintendent to prioritize restoration to schools in Calcasieu Parish and have now restored service to all locations, including all school and administrative buildings.
Finally, as part of our ongoing focus to help the community recovery, Suddenlink has donated $300,000 in cash and in-kind contributions to southwest Louisiana customers and communities. Whether through the $50,000 contribution to the Southwest Louisiana Community Fund, the $25,000 contributions to the United Way of Lake Charles and the SWLA Economic Alliance, or various in-kind gifts to the American Red Cross and others, we are honored to be able to assist our local communities.
We recognize that this restoration effort is not complete until every customer has their service restored, and that remains our priority.
List of Suddenlink Hotspots
· 158 E. Prien Lake Rd.
· 2850 Henderson Bayou
· 4233 Weaver Rd.
· 2750, 2021, 1500 Country Club Rd.
· 3741-3755, 3479 Nelson Rd.
· 3538 Ernest
· 4135 Common
· 2649 3rd Ave.
· 216 Albert
· 411 Pujo St.
· 1401 Moeling St.
· 816 Kirkman St.
· 1638 Ryan St.
· 3008 Enterprise Blvd.
· 3501 Patrick St.
· 2401 4th Ave.
· 1701 11th St.
· 1320 N. Simmons St.
· 1462 W. Crotcker St.
· 933 W. Parish Rd.
· 602 N. Claiborn St.
· 2003 E. Burton
· 1015, 536 Ruth St.
· 436 N. Huntington
· 201 Edgar
· 1421 S. Beglis St.
· 496 Post Oak Dr.
· 4401,4113, 2700, 2405 Maplewood Dr.