News

Area AT&T cell service ‘still lacking’

By MARIE BAKKEN
Reporter Staff Writer

Nine months after Rockdale area AT&T cell phone customers began having problems with their service, it appears no answers, or fixes to the problem, are forthcoming.

Last year, a company whose Rockdale area tower AT&T had been using by contract for its “roaming services” cut its ties and no longer allowed AT&T use of that tower for cellular service.

Only other tower w ithin a 25-mile radius with an AT& T node is located in Milano and it only offers one “node.”

Around the 2012 holidays, customers calling to complain were told this was a SIM card issue rather than a tower problem.

NEW TOWER—AT&T representatives said work was to begin on a new tower in the area but did not provide a time line.

Months ago, AT&T leased space on top of a water tower at Alcoa’s Rockdale Operations. Equipment was placed on the tower, but things are apparently at a standstill there too.

“I checked with the IT people at Alcoa and they are still wondering what has happened as well,” Gary Griesbach, Rockdale Municipal Development District board president, said. “ To me there is no sense of urgency on AT&T’s part to help people in the area and they still are charging people for no service or sub-par service.”

Griesbach, as well as many area residents, have changed their cell phone service providers.

“Hundreds, maybe thousands, of people in the area have been without reasonable service for perhaps up to a year,” Griesbach said.

EFFECT—The situation also has an impact on the town’s economic development.

“From an economic development standpoint, I know the situation now has created a bad reputation for the Rockdale area. Who would want to move to an area where phone service is this bad?” Griesbach asked. “Already the average citizen has given up. Potential new businesses may have also.”

“This shows me how unimportant Rockdale is in their (AT&T) eyes. If this was Austin, people would embarrass AT&T to death,” Griesbach said. “I think this has a significant safety risk for the whole county since people rely so much on their cell phones for everything.”

Calls to AT&T’s Corporate Communications Department by The Reporter had not been returned by press time Wednesday morning.


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2013-09-19 digital edition



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