Cable, internet services depend on utility poles

A restored utility pole

Neither Charter Communications nor AT&T has provided information about estimated dates for restoration of cable service in Tangipahoa Parish, but spokespersons said utility poles and electrical service have to be restored first.

Now that lineworkers have completed most of their work here, residents can expect to see more cable, internet and phone service repairs underway. Reportedly, the work will take three to five days once electricity is restored.

Entergy lost approximately 3,300 distribution poles to Ida, a company spokesman said.

Spectrum Louisiana sustained damage to hundreds of miles of broadband network and the Hammond area was the hardest-hit, a Charter official said Tuesday night.

Patti Braskie Michel, senior director of regional communications told The Daily Star that if customers have electricity at their home or business but are still without Spectrum's service, they may call 1-833-267-6094 or sign in to .

"Customers will not be charged for equipment lost or damaged as a result of a declared natural disaster, Michel said.

"Our automated system may have generated and mailed bills during the time of the storm, before affected customers could contact us. Affected customers who received a bill should call us at 1-833-267-6094 to discuss their account," she said.

She said Spectrum crews, technicians from neighboring regions and contractors making repairs as quickly as possible.

A corporate communications officer for AT&T said service has been restored to more than 90 percent of the company's wireline customers.

"While equipment that serves a neighborhood can be powered and online, we may not be aware of specific in-home service impairment until customers return to their homes and commercial power is restored," said Sarah Rodriguez, lead public relations manager for corporate communications.

"Disruptions to commercial power can affect service for our customers even once our repairs are made," she said.

Neither Michel nor Rodriguez answered The Daily Star's inquiries as to how many customers are without service and what percentage has been restored.

Commissioner Erik Skrmetta said while telecommunication companies are officially regulated by the Louisiana Public Service Commission in actuality there is little monitoring and regulation.

Skrmitta acknowledged more oversight would be desirable, especially in situations such as disasters. However, he pushes for such governmental oversight have not been successful in the Legislature.

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