Public invited to give input on Suddenlink service

·3 min read

Oct. 26—Del. Mick Bates from Raleigh County has joined another state lawmaker in asking West Virginians to email their complaints about Suddenlink service directly to the two lawmakers at cableconcerns@wvhouse.gov

Bates and fellow Republican Daniel Linville, a delegate from Cabell County, said Monday that the plan creates a "clearinghouse" that will allow them to better address customers' concerns about the cable, telephone and internet service from Suddenlink.

In August, the West Virginia Public Service Commission hosted a public meeting in Raleigh County to hear customers' complaints about Suddenlink cable service. Bates spoke at that meeting.

In February, Bates had pushed for regulations of broadband in the state, after receiving hundreds of complaints about Suddenlink offering poor service, billing customers larger charges, without prior notification, offering poor maintenance and customer service.

To date, there is little regulation of broadband in West Virginia, even as lawmakers grapple with expanding broadband under Gov. Jim Justice's ambitious $1 billion strategy for providing service to 90 percent of West Virginia in a "first wave" of broadband delivery.

Meanwhile, customer troubles with Suddenlink still abound, according to the two lawmakers.

"I get contacted very day about problems people are having," said Bates. "Most days, it is more than one person."

Receiving complaints via email to cableconcerns@wvhouse.gov is a way to help those whose problems with Suddenlink have gone unresolved, according to Linville.

The process has a twofold purpose, according to statements by Bates.

"In the short term, this system will get people help, and help more quickly, than I can individually and makes Suddenlink accountable for the actions," he said. "In the long term, it will help me and others determine patterns and what legislative or regulatory changes need to be made, to ensure people are getting what they are paying for and improve internet service for the people I represent.

"We are going to fix the internet, one at a time, if we have to," added Bates. "It is that important.

Linville, who serves as chairman of the House Committee on Technology and Infrastructure, said in a press release Monday that he and Bates and legislative staff with the Committee on Technology and Infrastructure will monitor, track and follow up on the concerns with Suddenlink.

He recently announced he will lead a broadband caucus, open to legislators from both parties from both the House and the Senate. This group will ensure that not only are West Virginians' connectivity concerns properly addressed, but also that the influx of federal money being directed to improve broadband serves its intended purpose, according to a joint press release from Bates and Linville.

"Now more than ever we must keep a careful eye on these efforts and these dollars," Linville said. "No one wants to live through another router-gate, and we plan to stay in lock-step with every initiative to guarantee no dollars are wasted and we get what we're paying for."

Bates said after sharing his own personal struggles with Suddenlink publicly, he's been inundated with similar stories from his community.

West Virginians are encouraged to share concerns about customer service and billing problems as well as problems with service coverage.

"This will be a way for us to efficiently help West Virginians directly and to collect information on what legislation we should pursue during the next legislative session, so we are better able to regulate this industry and ensure people get what they pay for," Bates said.

Linville said that the House Committee on Technology and Infrastructure has requested Suddenlink to field questions during a January meeting, which will include addressing many of the public's concerns.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting