Trinity County businesses file petition against Windstream Communications, get answer

TRINITY COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - The wheels are beginning to turn as major players within Windstream Communications have finally responded to a petition filed by dozens of Trinity County businesses last May.

The petition, signed by nearly 300 residents and business owners in Trinity and Riverside, cites slow Internet service, and "poor" phone service provided by Windstream Communications as a major issue in the area. Windstream Communications is the only Internet and phone service provider in those areas, residents said.

Roland Kane, the owner of Trinity Café, said every time his Internet goes out, he loses business.

"About 60 percent of my business is credit cards and without cash flow, you just can't stay operating," Kane said.

The Internet service at Trinity Café goes out about four times a month, Kane said, adding that when it's out, he can't run his credit card machine.

"I had two customers walk out because they did not have cash," Kane said.

Kane advertises Internet service at his café, but he said if he wants to use the phone, he has to choose either phone or Internet. Every time he answers the phone, he has to unplug the Internet line, otherwise the phone call will be full of static, he said.

"So, if you're on the computer, then you just got kicked off," Kane said.

It's one of the many problems residents cite in the petition all because of what they call "poor service," from Windstream Communications. In a day and age where plastic rules small businesses, lack luster Internet service equals, what these business owners call, lackluster business.

"You tell them, 'my credit card machine isn't working.' They say 'well, I ain' got any cash,' and they say 'I'll be back,' and when they leave you never know if they are going to come back," said Bill Reeves, the owner of Trinity Discount Liquor.

Reeves said that 72 percent of his business is through credit card sales.

The petition, written by Huntsville attorney Bill Habern, was sent to Windstream Communications on May 22 and cites similar issues at not only Trinity Café, but Bethy Creek Marina, Tallent's Grocery and Trinity Discount Liquor.

"We don't want to shut them down. We want good service and we don't have good service," said Habern.

In an email written by Windstream Communications spokesperson Scott Morris, he said the company is aware of the issues and is working on fixing those issues.

"We have been working on a project to address the slow Internet speeds that some customers have experienced in Trinity. Some of the work has already been done, and the remainder will be completed by the end of 2014, barring unforeseen obstacles. At that time, the speed issues will be corrected for the vast majority of customers in the Trinity exchange," Morris said in the email.

He adds the company's executive customer relations groups based in Charlotte, NC has been reaching out to customers who signed the petition "in order to assist them with any issues other than Internet speeds."

Morris said the executive customer relations group has reached half of those who signed the petition and is waiting on returned phone calls from the rest.

Ron Tallent, the owner of Tallent Grocery in Riverside, said he has seen some improvements since the petition. Tallent sent the East Texas News pictures of phone wires loosely laid out on his grocery property. He said in the past couple of weeks, Windstream has fixed the problem.

"Since Bill got going and we got the petition going…all of the sudden it disappeared," Tallent said.

But he wants all his problems fixed, he said, and that's the bottom line.

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