AT&T’S Director Of Communication Sends Bizarre Emails To BocaNewsNow.com After We Report On Mass Palm Beach County Outage.
READ THE EMAILS FROM AT&T EXECUTIVE.
BY: ANDREW COLTON | Editor and Publisher
BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) (Copyright © 2021 MetroDesk Media, LLC) — BocaNewsNow.com reported late Monday afternoon that AT&T customers in West Delray Beach and West Boca Raton were again experiencing an internet outage. It was the fourth multi-hour AT&T fiber outage over the past several months.
The outage apparently affected hundreds if not thousands of customers. AT&T still won’t give us a number. In fact, AT&T all but denied the outage in a series of bizarre emails from the company’s director of communications in Dallas, Texas.
BocaNewsNow.com reached out to corporate spokespeople Lesley Merritt and Sarah Rodriguez at 7:22 p.m. Monday, slightly more than two hours after the service interruption began and we received emails and tips from AT&T customers asking for information.
Merritt responded a short time later with a question. We answered. She responded shortly after that to say she was seeking an answer. We heard nothing more. Simultaneously, AT&T customers were being told via text and app messages to expect the outage last first 4 hours, then 15 hours, then a full day.
The internet outage lasted nearly 12 hours, affecting internet and phone for businesses and homes. This morning, BocaNewsNow.com received a call — and then an angry email — from AT&T Communications Director Jim Kimberly. The subject: “Journalism 101.” Here’s what he wrote:
We responded that perhaps he needed to take “Corporate Communications 101.” We informed the Communications Director for a major company that his department was contacted multiple times and that ultimately, no one responded with actionable information while part of Palm Beach County was without internet.
That led to an acknowledgment from Kimberly that he was being “snarky,” then this response:
We responded, again, by telling Jim Kimberly that AT&T is a 24/7 operation providing 24/7 services to a 24/7 customer base. There is no “after hours” when you are a utility providing phone and internet service to a huge portion of Palm Beach County. Comcast responds around the clock. Hotwire — operating in may area HOA’s — responds around the clock. AT&T, the granddaddy of telecom companies, apparently goes to bed early.
Kimberly, after we again asked for a statement around noon eastern time today, finally sent this:
“Our technicians worked into the night to repair a fiber line in the Delray Beach area that was cut by a third-party. The cut affected service for a small number of customers, but the line has been repaired and service is operating normally.”
He didn’t, however, answer our questions: how many homes were officially affected? Where was the cable cut? Who cut the cable? What is being done to ensure this constant problem in South Palm Beach County is managed?
BocaNewsNow.com, based on user reports, has pinpointed the cut to somewhere in the area of Lyons and Clint Moore Roads. It seems to have affected homes in The Bridges, Seven Bridges, Mizner Country Club, Boca Bridges and more. If even only half are AT&T subscribers, the outage affected thousands of people. AT&T, while only disputing our use of the word “massive,” refuses to provide an actual number of impacted customers.
Jim Kimberly, according to his LinkedIn profile, once wrote for the Chicago Tribune, and served as an assistant state editor for the Houston Chronicle. Journalism may be his thing. Corporate Communications, well, seemingly not so much.
We’ll let you know if Jim Kimberly responds with facts. In the meantime, Comcast now offers Gigabit speeds in much of the region: 1-800-XFINITY.
Need consumer help? Call 866-4-FL-NEWS, or email news(at)bocanewsnow.com. We fight for our readers. And the snark is always free.
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