SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Internet and telephone services are down in a large area of the back country. The outage is hitting AT&T customers in Pine Valley, Descanso and Guatay.
What would you do if you didn’t have telephone service for days or weeks?
That’s what’s happening to Miriam Phillips at the Heavenly Oaks trailer park in Guatay, and a lot of other people in in the backcountry communities of Pine Valley and Descanso.
“We’re used to the power going off and the phone going off but when it all comes together, you have nothing. And that’s been the last two, three weeks,” said Phillips.
The neighbors contacted News 8, saying they’re getting the run around from their carrier, AT&T.
“I have no internet service. I have no phone service. And my husband is close to being put on the heart transplant list. So, of course, I worry because if anything happens, what am I to do?,” said resident Cherrybea Smith.
“We have no way to call 911 and it’s affecting local businesses. We’re out of revenue when we’re out of phone line or internet. And they just don’t seem to care,” said neighbor Tina Guido.
AT&T has been sending out crews to evaluate the problem. At least two servicemen told customers that the issue is related to SDG&E power line upgrades in the area.
‘I’m not allowed to mention the name of the company but, the company that is putting in the new power poles are not running the internet ground lines. They’re leaving it to us to try and run the ground lines off their poles,’” said Phillips.
In an email, AT&T confirmed as much:
“We have been working on a solution to a problem in the Guatay and Pine Valley area that occurred when SDG&E replaced some wood poles with steel poles. Our cables are in good shape however, since they were moved off the old wood poles and placed on to the new steel poles, we are now experiencing inductive noise on the cable pairs within the cable. What we are seeing is that internet service is being affected. Therefore, internet customers who use Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) for their voice communications are also seeing their voice service affected as well. Traditional voice service through AT&T does not appear to be affected at this time. We believe this to be a bonding and grounding issue. Our plan is complete bonding and grounding enhancements and we are in the process of scheduling that work now. Our maintenance supervisor does not have an estimated time of restoral now but he will keep me posted once that work is contracted and then again when completed. I in turn will let you know the status as those tasks are completed.”
Meanwhile, in a statement emailed to CBS News 8, SDG&E pointed the finger at AT&T:
“SDG&E has replaced over 1,100 poles over the past 3 years on this project and AT&T has completed numerous transfers without incident. At this point we have no evidence that SDG&E activities have caused this problem. AT&T is co-located on many of SDG&E poles and we are in coordination with them on all our work associated with this project. We have regular planning and construction meetings with them so they understand our schedule and they can plan any AT&T facility transfer work to the new poles. In some cases, SDG&E construction contractors will perform simple transfers of AT&T facilities over to the new steel pole but any complex transfers are performed by AT&T crews/contractors which means that any ground connections for AT&T would be performed by their crews.”
Neighbors aren’t surprised by the response.
“It’s money. It’s money between these two big conglomerate companies. We don’t even matter,” said Phillips.
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