The infrastructure for Suddenlink Communications in Calcasieu Parish is going to require a total rebuilding of their plant.
This was the message given at a Wednesday news briefing by Robbie Lee, Suddenlink’s vice president for the Midsouth region. He reported that, to date, service has been restored to about 9 percent of their customers in Calcasieu Parish – approximately 4,000 accounts.
The company has taken heat for its seemingly lethargic response to customer outages due to Hurricane Laura. Customers have complained on social media that they’ve yet to see a Suddenlink repair crew working anywhere in the parish and State Sen. Ronnie Johns has called a joint meeting of the House and Senate Commerce committees for Friday to compel a response from Suddenlink officials.
Lee said the company has had employees and contractors working on restoration since they were able to gain entry to the area. He said not everyone working for the company is wearing a Suddenlink uniform.
“We’re working with Entergy to prioritize restoration to specific sites and facilities that provide power to our network, so, then, we can accelerate the restoration of Suddenlink services in those areas,” said Lee.
He said Suddenlink crews have been working beside power crews replacing poles to “fix our fiber and rehang it on those poles.”
“While we’re seeing a good number of customers coming online each day, this is going to be a slow process,” Lee said. “We’re literally having to work block by block in many cases.”
The immediate focus for Suddenlink is on the main interconnection circuits, which, when repaired, will allow the company to bring the largest number of customers back online, according to Lee.
“We’ve got over 1,000 employees on the ground working around the clock to restore service to Louisiana,” he said. “Currently, 393 of those employees are in Calcasieu Parish.”
Lee said Suddenlink is updating its customers via email, text messages, social media and their customer webpage at suddenlink.com/storm. He said there is a hotspot available to customers at their retail facility at 1538 Prien Lake Road in Lake Charles. “We’ve also informed customers that we are offering credits for the time their subscriber service was not available after power was restored,” he said. “To request credit, they should log into their account on suddenlink.net and click Request a Credit.”
Calcasieu Parish Administrator Bryan Beam asked that Suddenlink send a representative to a future briefing who could answer more questions about refunds for lack of service.