Patrick County formally requested state legislators’ involvement and help to address issues with telephone service. Interim County Administrator Tim Hall wrote the letter to Sen. Bill Stanley, R-Moneta, and Del. Wren Williams, R-Stuart, on behalf of the Board of Supervisors.
At its July 10 meeting, a resident recounted ongoing issues she is having with the service provider and “the company’s apparent lack of interest in adequately serving the people of Patrick County,” Hall wrote. Brightspeed is the service provider.
Kim Harmon, who lives on Pole Bridge Road in the Mayo River District, “is being inadequately served by Brightspeed’s phone service. Mrs. Harmon told the Board that she lives in an area where cellphone service is spotty at best, and no internet service (also Brightspeed) is available,” Hall wrote.
Her only real connection to the outside world is her landline telephone. However, Mrs. Harmon told the Board that her phone was out of service from June 4 to June 20, and was out a total of 25 days over the previous three months, Hall wrote.
“This is problematic on many fronts, but particularly because of health issues of members of the household,” he wrote. Harmon’s telephone “is literally her lifeline, and her attempts to get this issue solved directly with Brightspeed have not succeeded.”
Harmon told the board that she has seen telephone lines draped over mailboxes, lying flat across roads, and propped up in some areas with sticks. She said repair crews “have told her that (they) have orders not to work on anything unless it’s broken,” Hall wrote.
“It seems logical that being without crucial phone service on a regular basis fits that definition, yet no corrective measures are being taken,” he wrote, adding the issue isn’t limited to Harmon.
“Our office has heard from other citizens with similar issues and non-responses,” Hall wrote.
In conclusion, “we ask that you do whatever you can to help us with this issue, and to reach out to the State Corporation Commission for its input and assistance,” Hall wrote.
He also offered to pass along Harmon’s telephone number if either Stanley or Williams wanted to call her.
“Hopefully, her telephone will be working on the day you reach out to her,” Hall wrote.
“Dozens of constituents have reached out to my office about unacceptably poor broadband and landline service,” Williams said. “I understand how vital it is for our district to have high-quality broadband access and phone service. Broadband is a must-have for our businesses, students, residents, and entrepreneurs, and in areas with poor cell coverage, reliable landlines are essential for the health, safety, and well-being of all our residents. Williams added that he will continue working to secure funding for more telecommunications investments” and work with providers to step in and fill the gap in quality service that our residents are suffering from.”
Stanley did not respond to requests for comment.