Fox 8 Defenders: Cox customers past the point of frustration after over a month of internet outages

Published: Oct. 8, 2021 at 9:23 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Frustration with companies like Cox Communications mounts as many people across the FOX 8 viewing area have been without internet for over a month.

“It’s not a luxury anymore. Internet is a necessity,” Fallon Green said. ”My job, for one, is strictly on the computer. I work from 5:30 in the morning till 2 p.m. and I’m doing hospital charts all day long, and not having a secure connection I can predict, productivity is down. I can’t even do video on my Zoom meetings.”

Green says she can live without streaming TV shows, but working off a hotspot is hurting her livelihood and her daughters need virtual tools for their schoolwork.

“Anyone I talk to through the app, through their website, over the phone, ‘we’re doing our best’ no estimated time. I never get a straight answer,” Green said.

She’s been without internet since the storm and says it’s the same case for a majority of her neighbors.

But Cox says major repairs in the Greater New Orleans area, including St. Charles Parish, where Green lives, are complete and that customers still experiencing an outage may need crews to come address individual service issues.

Green says crews visited her twice.

“They replaced all kinds of stuff, checked all kinds of things and said it’s not our house, it’s Cox’s signal itself,” Green said. “So, they put a ticket in and said hopefully it’ll be done in the next couple of days, but they can’t give a guaranteed time.”

Cox says there was serious damage to the network fiber rings serving St. Charles Parish near Destrehan and Luling, requiring crews to completely rebuild lines and equipment in these areas.

State Public Service Commissioner, Eric Skrmetta, says yet another bill has been submitted to the legislature to try and increase PSC regulation over communication companies, but he says similar bills have been shot down four times already.

Skrmetta says it’s unacceptable how long it’s taken these companies to get service restored and how they’re still charging customers, making them call to get refunded, but PSC can’t regulate it.

“I got a bill last month and I had to call them and tell them, that’s not getting paid,” Green said. “So, they cleared it out, but I talked to the person yesterday, ‘well we’ll credit your account for four days after that’ I’m like, ‘what do you mean four days? I still don’t have it’. So, you have to keep calling them to get your credits, they’re not even automatically doing it after that first month.”

Cox is Green’s only option.

“They can basically do whatever they want and drag their feet however long they want and we have to just sit and take it,” Green said.

On October 20, there will be a PSC meeting where commissioners will get follow-up reports from telecommunication carriers regarding Ida response and restoration.

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