Mayor: Suddenlink agrees to meet with Jonesboro customers

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JONESBORO, Ark. – If you’ve been frustrated with service from local cable/internet provider Suddenlink, you’re not alone.

In an unscientific poll conducted by NEA Report, 90-percent of over 2,500 individuals who voted weren’t satisfied with the service. The rise in complaints have led to the mayor’s office becoming involved.

Mayor Harold Perrin met last month with officials from Altice USA/Suddenlink, who agreed to hold a town hall-style meeting with Suddenlink cable-internet service customers.

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The town hall has not been scheduled but is anticipated in February.

The City has no franchise authority over Suddenlink and a correction to a previously inaccurate statement on Suddenlink billing that asserted that has been made. However, the mayor sought out top company officials to voice the displeasure of so many Jonesboro residents who are Suddenlink customers.

Brad Ayers, senior director of governmental affairs for Altice USA, as well as Suddenlink Regional Vice President Robbie Lee and Regional Technical Opertions Manager Darren Bouma met with Perrin and city officials about the large volume of complaints received by the mayor’s office.

The Suddenlink representatives admitted that a recent “convergence” of software since Suddenlink was acquired by Altice USA created errors in billing as well as a “breakdown in communication to customers.”

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“Prior, we had 60 calls pending every day,” Bouma said. “It jumped to 168. We usually respond within two days. At the peak of our migration, it jumped to 4.4.”

Lee said he understands customers might still be having problems.

“We’re not saying the problem is fixed. We know we’re not where we need to be, but we are trending in the right direction.” – Suddenlink

Perrin explained that complaints have not entirely been recent, nor can they be uniquely tied to the Altice USA takeover.

“I have received many letters and emails, not to mention phone calls, that detail a wide variety of issues that point to customer service,” Perrin told the company representatives. “They have increased recently, but they have been coming in for a long time.”

The mayor asked that Suddenlink issue a statement to its Jonesboro customers, because so many have little or no alternate provider. Ayers sent a letter assigning blame for the troubles to a “digital transformation” designed to make account management “more user friendly for our customers and aid in our ability to roll out new products and services … “

Ayers also agreed to Perrin’s request that that Suddenlink officials meet directly with customers to hear their complaints in Jonesboro. The date will be early 2020 and, when confirmed, the City will inform residents well in advance.

“The City does not have the ability to make demands of Suddenlink, but I am pleased that Mr. Ayers and these gentlemen are at least willing to come to Jonesboro and face their customers,” Perrin said. “I told them that it is clear to me that their issues revolve around customer service. Because their franchise is with the state, not the City, I cannot require anything of them.

“But if it comes to it, I can at the very least seek opportunities with other providers. To create more competition in our market, I think that is worth the effort.”

The mayor is unlikely to find many who would oppose such a decision with 90-percent of thousands polled voicing dissatisfaction.

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