Rural Albemarle Neighbors Worry Phone Outages Risk Lives
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - People living in part of rural Albemarle County are calling on their phone company to update old equipment. They say outages could risk lives if an emergency strikes at the wrong time.
Families in Boonesville say they have no other choice but to rely on service from CenturyLink due to lack of cell phone reception. According to CenturyLink customer Diane Straight, there are no other phone companies for Boonesville residents to switch their landline to.
“I am so worried that something bad is going to happen out here…and we’re not going to be able to do anything about it,” Straight said.
Daphne Ferguson has been a CenturyLink customer since 1998 and says they have already had five outages in 2019. Some outages can last up to a week and she worries about her 96-year-old mother-in-law.
“CenturyLink has told me that if we have a problem and need medical assistance to go to a neighbor’s house,” Ferguson said.
However, if their phone is down, neighbors say it’s likely theirs is as well. Ferguson says they have tried working with CenturyLink to fix the issue, but to no avail.
“We do have a medical form on file with them requesting priority restoration of service, but that doesn’t seem to make any difference,” Ferguson said.
During the most recent outages last weekend, neighbors grew frustrated with customer service reps. They say CenturyLink blames the problems on aging infrastructure.
“They guaranteed us that they would be there on Saturday, but they don’t work on Saturdays,” Ferguson said. “We’ve been told that the equipment is old and needs to be repaired.”
NBC29 reached out to CenturyLink about the issue, who provided the following statement: "All CenturyLink services at the Free Union, Va., address are currently up and running. Our technicians restored services yesterday for an outage that was caused by storms on June 2."