HARRISBURG – Rep. Perry Stambaugh (R-Perry/Cumberland) joined two state senators last week in asking the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) to convene an investigation into the recent week-long extended telephone service outage, ongoing maintenance issues, and unreliable and inadequate service experienced by constituents who are customers of CenturyLink.
Stambaugh, Sen. Judy Ward (R-Blair/Huntingdon/Fulton/Franklin/Cumberland) and Sen. John DiSanto (R-Dauphin/Perry) say they have received many complaints from constituents about the outages, which CenturyLink blames on flooding at its Philadelphia offices.
A letter from the lawmakers requests that the PUC look into whether CenturyLink is complying with Pa. Code Title 52, §63.57 (relating to Customer Trouble Reports) and 66 §1501, specifically the requirement that service shall be “adequate, efficient, safe, and reasonable” and that “[s]uch service all shall be reasonable continuous and without unreasonable interruptions or delay,” along with any other violations of code or regulation as deemed appropriate by the commission.
“CenturyLink has a responsibility to its customers, who pay for a service to be reliable. Extended disruptions are unacceptable and could be dangerous if a household is encountering an emergency in which someone needs to call for help,” Stambaugh said.
The lawmakers recommended PUC deny or delay any pending acquisition or sale of CenturyLink facilities until a corrective action plan is implemented. CenturyLink, rebranded yet again, this time as Lumen, is reportedly selling incumbent carrier operations in 20 states (including Pennsylvania) to funds managed by Apollo Global Management for $7.5 billion based on news reports.
Wondering why operations are being handled out of Philadelphia, way outside of CenturyLink’s service territory (Perry, Juniata, western Cumberland, Franklin, northern Fulton, Adams, Bedford, Butler, northwest Lancaster, southern and western Huntingdon, eastern Blair, northern Mifflin, eastern Centre, western Clinton, and pieces of Dauphin, Mercer, Lawrence, Clarion, and Venango counties), Stambaugh commented, “The excuses and stonewalling have to stop. We have too many reports of CenturyLink facilities laying on ground for more than a year without repair, fire and rescue vehicles waiting hours at the site of an accident for CenturyLink crews to arrive and fix downed lines (which never happened), and customer complaints about deficient ‘high-speed’ Internet service.
“The collapse of the CenturyLink system after Hurricane Ida is the final straw,” he said.” Local phone companies need to stop being part of the problem and decide to become part of the solution in delivering world-class telecommunications, especially voice and broadband, to customers in their service areas. Throwing money at them to ‘do their job’ and make needed investments is not the answer until they demonstrate marked progress.”
Representative Perry Stambaugh
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Jennifer Fitch