Running a business is a challenge, but running one without access to Internet and phone services is a near impossibility.
This is what many Telus customers and small business owners at Sun Peaks experienced with noticeably deteriorating intermittent Internet service in September.
Business owner Rod Honey described service as cutting out for an instant, alternating a few minutes on and a few minutes off, or even off for more than a day. Each time that signal failed, online service stopped.
At least seven other Telus customers reported similar service problems, and each phoned Telus support several times.
Shawn Hall, media and public relations spokesperson for Telus, stated that Telus had received calls from only two customers, and had sent a couple of technicians to Sun Peaks.
“Looking at our system it looks like we’ve received complaints from two customers over the last couple of weeks. We’re going to dig further into that,” said Hall. “We’ll be calling all of the customers and asking what happened and what they experienced. If there’s anything we can do to improve our systems we’ll certainly do it. In terms of communications with our company we’ll certainly look at that as well.”
Yet Honey had three technicians to his home, replacing lines, filters, and three modems with no positive results. He was told that a fourth technician would respond, service would be restored within 24 hours, and that he would receive a call when it was fixed. Not only did he not receive the call, when he made his own follow-up call, there was no record of his service request.
Similarly, Sun Peaks resident and Telus customer Nancy Wilson stated, “Every day I called (Telus) once or twice. On the Monday I called three times and got three different people, I got cut off and waited a bit, and of course no one called back.”
Each time a new call was placed by the affected customers, no record of a previous complaint or communication was available from Telus. In response, Hall stated, “There are records of customer complaints, if they’re not there then someone has made an error. We want to get that right.” He continued, “I’m concerned to hear that people are saying that those records don’t exist.”
Russell McCue, field support manager with Telus, explains that when a service call for the area is made to the company’s switchboard, the service request goes to McCue. He dispatches technicians to manage the problem.
“There’s no pattern to (the dispatching of a Telus employee or contractor),” he says, “It just depends on who’s available whether the dispatch centre sends a Telus employee or a contractor. For all intents and purposes, they’re the same.”
McCue estimates there are anywhere from 30 to 40 technicians in the Kamloops area, who respond as far as east as Westwold and Pritchard, north to Sun Peaks and west to Savona.
Telus confirmed on Sept. 27 that a malfunctioning cooling unit appears to have caused the service failures, and has been repaired.