Home Internet Berlin residents, business owners urged to report internet outages

Berlin residents, business owners urged to report internet outages

Berlin officials have urged residents to report internet issues to their providers as they await the addition of new downtown access points.

Berlin Main Street

Main Street in downtown Berlin is pictured.
File photo

By Charlene Sharpe, Associate Editor

Berlin officials have urged residents to report internet issues to their providers.

While town staff have been in communication with Comcast regarding internet outages in Berlin, they said it was still helpful if residents reached out directly to their providers when outages occurred.

“It’s far more effective for them to get 500 complaints from citizens than one complaint from the town,” Town Administrator Mary Bohlen said. 

Staff told the council last week that in the downtown area, Comcast was experiencing technical issues with some of the equipment that provides internet service to the town. They’re working to resolve the issue during the overnight hours, between midnight and 6 a.m., so as not to impact residents and businesses, according to Tim Lawrence, the town’s electric utility director. 

“Hopefully they get it repaired as soon as possible,” he said.

He urged residents to report any internet issues they experienced to their provider. Councilman Steve Green said he knew of at least one business that had to close during Memorial Day weekend because of a lack of internet connectivity. 

“Keep reporting it,” Mayor Zack Tyndall said. “We’ve been talking with their government affairs folks but keep reporting the issue. Same thing with Verizon.”

Bohlen said posting complaints about internet service on social media was not effective.

“Comcast is not reading your comments,” she said.

She added that the internet providers were independent companies who operated on franchise agreement with the town.

“We have very little leverage,” she said.

Councilman Jack Orris asked if the town could work with another franchise. 

“I you wish to open that door you can,” Bohlen said. “Historically towns that have opened that door have found it to be favorable but It’s an incredible amount of work and it takes expensive lawyers to do.”

Tyndall said one thing the town would look at in the future was fiberoptic internet, as other towns had found success with it.

“It is something we have laid out as a pathway that does require some further exploration,” he said.

While not related to the Comcast issue, Economic and Community Development Director Ivy Wells told the council that crews would be adding access points downtown to improve the free pubic wifi. 

“We had received some complaints from some of the farmers market vendors,” she said, adding that they hadn’t been able to use their mobile credit card processing apps. 

To address the issue the town will have more access points added.

“They are coming out in the next few weeks to increase our access points,” she said. “That should help with the folks downtown who need public wifi while they’re outside.” 

This story appears in the June 6, 2024, print edition of the Bayside Gazette.

 

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