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AT&T workers report statewide phone, internet outages due to unresolved infrastructure issues

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Posted at 1:39 PM, Jan 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-11 16:21:20-05

As California and Nevada experience their first major weather system of 2017, AT&T technicians are reporting  phone and internet outages across both states due to crumbling infrastructure exacerbated by the storm.

Technicians are working 14 hours a day, seven days a weemaintk to ensure that AT&T customers have essential landline services, including access to 911 and emergency services.

Service calls jumped 350 percent this past weekend, and the number of calls is expected to grow as the storm continues through Thursday.

AT&T workers have been raising concerns about the company’s failing infrastructure for years, warning that AT&T’s refusal to invest in these states could cause unnecessary disruptions and outages – especially during extreme weather. Technicians from other states have been brought in to help handle the large volume of service calls.

“For years, we’ve been telling AT&T executives about widespread infrastructure problems and saying the company needs to invest in the basic landline services our customers need before it’s too late," said maintenance splicer Keith Mitchell, who is one of many technicians working in San Diego County to restore phone and internet services. "But AT&T chose to ignore us and the needs of our customers, and now the company is forcing us to work in dangerous conditions to clean up their avoidable mess.”

Periods of heavy rain and snowfall in northwestern California and the Sierras are expected to continue before the system moves into northern and central California Tuesday night. Meteorologists have estimated two to 8 inches of rain across the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys.

While the storms will help alleviate drought conditions in these regions, the onset of heavy rain will have difficulty absorbing into the soil, raising the incidents of flooding, mudslides and rock slides. High fire hazard areas, most of which are located in northern and central California, will have higher incidences of these issues.

While problems are mounting statewide, AT&T technicians are seeing the worst service outages in:

  • Redding
  • Napa
  • Clear Lake
  • Auburn
  • Placerville
  • Sacramento
  • Stockton
  • Lake Tahoe

“I’m working on the cable today, fighting for my customers and fighting through the storm,” Mitchell said. “Our customers depend on us for these services, and we’re doing everything that we can to get everything up and running again. But AT&T could have avoided these problems by making simple, needed investments in infrastructure across our state. We shouldn’t be out here working the wire, battling heavy rain and high winds.”