CenturyLink left clients with out Web for 39 days—till Ars stepped in

A spotlight shines the Ars signal in the sky over snowy Portland

Aurich Lawson | Getty Photographs

When a extreme winter storm hit Oregon on January 13, Nicholas Brown’s CenturyLink fiber Web service stopped working at his home in Portland.

The preliminary outage was comprehensible amid the widespread injury attributable to the storm, however CenturyLink’s response was poor. It took about 39 days for CenturyLink to revive broadband service to Brown and even longer to revive service to one in every of his neighbors. These reconnections solely occurred after Ars Technica contacted the telco agency on the shoppers’ behalf final week.

Brown had by no means skilled any prolonged outage in over 4 years of subscribing to CenturyLink, so he figured the telco agency would restore his broadband connection inside an inexpensive period of time. “It had virtually by no means gone down in any respect up so far. I have been fairly proud of it,” he stated.

Whereas CenturyLink despatched vans to his road to reconnect most of his neighbors after the storm and Brown commonly contacted CenturyLink to plead for a repair, his Web connection remained offline. Brown had additionally misplaced energy, however the electrical energy service was reconnected inside about 48 hours, whereas the broadband service remained offline for effectively over a month.

Fearing he had exhausted his choices, Brown contacted Ars. We despatched an electronic mail to CenturyLink’s media division on February 21 to hunt info on why the outage lasted so lengthy.

Telco lastly springs into motion

Roughly 4 hours after we contacted the agency, a CenturyLink technician arrived on the Portland home Brown shares along with his accomplice, Jolene Edwards. The technician was in a position to reconnect them that day.

“At 4:30 pm, a CenturyLink tech confirmed up unannounced,” Brown instructed us. “Nobody was dwelling on the time, however he stated he would wait. I get the concept he was instructed to not come again till it was mounted.”

Brown’s neighbor, Leonard Bentz, additionally misplaced Web entry on January 13 and remained offline for 2 days longer than Brown. The technician who arrived on February 21 did not reconnect Bentz’s home.

“My accomplice gently tried to egg him to go over there and repair them too, and he roughly stated, ‘That is not the ticket that I’ve,'” Brown stated.

After getting Bentz’s title and handle, we contacted CenturyLink once more on February 22 to inform them that he additionally wanted to be reconnected. CenturyLink later confirmed to us that it restored his Web service on February 23.

“They saved placing me off and placing me off”

Bentz instructed Ars that in the course of the month-plus outage, he known as CenturyLink a number of instances. Customer support reps and a supervisor instructed him the corporate would ship somebody to repair his service, however “they saved placing me off and placing me off and placing me off,” Bentz stated.

On a kind of calls, Bentz stated that CenturyLink promised him seven free months of service in alternate for the lengthy outage. Brown instructed us he obtained a refund for the complete size of his outage, plus a bit further. He pays $65 a month for gigabit service.

Brown stated he’s “glad sufficient with the decision,” a minimum of financially since he “bought all the cash for the non-service.” However these 39 days with out Web service will stay a nasty reminiscence.

Sadly, Web service suppliers like CenturyLink have a historical past of failing to repair issues till media protection exposes their poor customer support. CenturyLink is formally known as Lumen lately, but it surely nonetheless makes use of the CenturyLink model title.

After fixing Brown’s service in Portland, a CenturyLink spokesperson gave us the next assertion:

It is irritating to have your companies down and for that we apologize. We have introduced in further assets to help in restoring service that was knocked out as a consequence of extreme storms and a number of instances of vandalism. Some companies are again, and we’re working diligently to fully restore all the things. In reality, we now have technicians there now. We admire our clients’ persistence and understanding, and we welcome calls from our clients to debate their service.