According to several media sources, 17,000 AT&T workers have walked off the job today to protest issues affecting technicians — including outsourcing, and being forced to do work outside their area of expertise.
We have confirmed this with AT&T directly, as they are now telling us that “maintenance ETRs have been delayed indefinitely” for newly reported DSL problems. (Unfortunately, we also cannot guarantee whether or not AT&T will honor commitments for previously scheduled DSL repairs.)
The AT&T strike affects Spiral customers because our DSL service runs on the landline telephone infrastructure owned by AT&T. When line-quality issues are reported to us, they must be referred to the phone company, who dispatches their own technicians.
The strike follows on the heels of complaints from elected officials statewide that AT&T is abandoning their landline phone network and skimping on maintenance. California Public Utilities Commission data shows that every month for the past three years, AT&T has failed to meet state telephone quality standards — while 90% of reported outages are supposed to be repaired within 24 hours, AT&T only meets that 24-hour goal about half of the time. (In Q4 2016, their average was 54%.)
This is one of the many reasons that we are moving forward with our fiber-optic network — where we will own the infrastructure ourselves, and be able to take accountability for its repair and maintenance, rather than relying on a bureaucracy that doesn’t care about the challenges of rural broadband access. “Zone A” of our network has already received $16 million in grant funding from the CPUC, and we are taking preorders within that zone as we finalize our environmental impact reports and prepare to break ground. (If you’re outside the zone, go take the survey to let us know where fiber is needed and wanted.)
In the meantime, we will provide the best service that we can to our DSL customers, given the limitations of degrading and unrepaired infrastructure.