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Prolonged wait for internet service repairs

Some PAB residents are waiting weeks for a repair tech. — via Pixabay (editorial use only)

By Jaymie White Local Journalism Initiative Reporter PORT AUX BASQUES — After a mid-holiday power outage, some residents have been without internet and phone service, and appointments to schedule repairs are weeks away. Fernon Seaward is one Bell customer who said it is difficult to get any answers or resolution. “We lost internet when the power went after, I remember just a little while ago over the holidays, and well, after that, the internet never come back on first or last,” said Seaward on Friday, Jan. 5. “So now I’ve got to wait for service techs to come.” Seaward increased his internet speed, which costs more money, but doesn’t believe it worthwhile. “I upgraded it, too, because the service here is the (expletive) on this hill, even when I’m talking to people here. I’ve lost people in my living room talking to them.” It isn’t just the service in his home, either. Seaward said there are areas around town where the service seems to completely drop off, and that it has been persistent for years. “I find certain parts of town, like High Street and stuff, especially by Tim Horton’s and stuff, you lose service,” said Seaward. “And then they were out and drilled two new holes up Red Rocks in the mountain up there, put new towers in. That was earlier part of the summer. I don’t know when they’re going to put them in.” After speaking with Bell, Seaward will still have to wait weeks for a technician to come out. “He said that the earliest I could get a service tech is the 24th of January, so now I’m all this time now without a TV, and that’s a long time. It’s almost a month,” said Seaward. “I’ve got no internet. I got Fibre Op and there are a couple of channels that my Dad had, but that’s only in his bedroom, and I was using the (Amazon) Firestick in my bedroom and in the living room, and you need internet for that.” Seaward was never given a straightforward answer as to why a simple and short-lived power loss resulted in the problem. “They couldn’t tell me what was wrong. They couldn’t tell me nothing,” said Seaward. Seaward isn’t the only one having this type of issue. “The senior citizens, I heard are having waiting problems. I heard that through the grape vine yesterday,” said Seaward. “Up to the (retirement) home somewhere, I believe.” Having to use cell data instead of WiFi in your own home is something Seaward doesn’t think should ever have to happen with Fibre Op. “The internet service in general is garbage, too. When I’m at my house, I should be able to put WiFi on it. Yeah, well, you know what? I’ve got to turn WiFi off because it’s that slow and it takes that long to go into your bank account and look at something that I got to turn WiFi off,” said Seaward. “We had that (Fibre Op) now two or three years, probably longer, and we pay $105 a month.” Bell offered some compensation. “It’s why I’m waiting now,” said Seaward. “They did, however, waive my installation fee for when they do come. They said that it’s the earliest I could get a service tech, but there was another message I’ve seen on Facebook the other day. A lady, she said they just never showed up. They had appointments to show up at such and such a time, and just never showed up.” Seaward isn’t sure if there is a staffing issue that may have resulted in the missed appointments, but he has nothing bad to say about the crew themselves. “The staff, when they do come, they’re number one. They’re really good, because I guess they can’t help it,” said Seaward. “You can’t blame them for the issues. They’re number one when they come. They’re not rude. They’re good people.” Switching service providers is something that has crossed Seaward’s mind, but there is a cost to that as well. “I’m in my dad’s house right now living with my dad because I got my house rented out, which is just across the driveway. I can just look out the window and look at it, and the dentist from Nigeria lives there. When he moves out, I’m moving into my house, and I’m going with all Starlink, I think,” said Seaward. “Yeah, I know the startup is a bit expensive, but I think it’ll be way worth it from what I hear from other people talking about it. And not only this, too, I read on the news yesterday that the Bell rates are going up, so that’s another thing. You know what I mean? Rates are going up and you still got (expletive) service. You still got (expletive) service, but the rates are going up.” In response to email inquiries, Bell issued the following statement. “Bell recently added two microcell sites in Port aux Basques to help address the population growth and increasing demands on our network, and our team is continually optimizing our network to provide the best service. Customers experiencing wireless service issues are encouraged to contact us at 1-800- 667-0123 so we can better understand the needs of the community.”

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