CenturyLink left prospects with out Web for 39 days—till Ars stepped in


A spotlight shines the Ars signal in the sky over snowy Portland

Aurich Lawson | Getty Photos

When a extreme winter storm hit Oregon on January 13, Nicholas Brown’s CenturyLink fiber Web service stopped working at his home in Portland.

The preliminary outage was comprehensible amid the widespread harm attributable to the storm, however CenturyLink’s response was poor. It took about 39 days for CenturyLink to revive broadband service to Brown and even longer to revive service to certainly one of his neighbors. These reconnections solely occurred after Ars Technica contacted the telco agency on the shoppers’ behalf final week.

Brown had by no means skilled any prolonged outage in over 4 years of subscribing to CenturyLink, so he figured the telco agency would restore his broadband connection inside an affordable period of time. “It had virtually by no means gone down in any respect up so far. I have been fairly pleased with it,” he mentioned.

Whereas CenturyLink despatched vehicles to his road to reconnect most of his neighbors after the storm and Brown recurrently contacted CenturyLink to plead for a repair, his Web connection remained offline. Brown had additionally misplaced energy, however the electrical energy service was reconnected inside about 48 hours, whereas the broadband service remained offline for nicely over a month.

Fearing he had exhausted his choices, Brown contacted Ars. We despatched an e-mail to CenturyLink’s media division on February 21 to hunt info on why the outage lasted so lengthy.

Telco lastly springs into motion

Roughly 4 hours after we contacted the agency, a CenturyLink technician arrived on the Portland home Brown shares along with his accomplice, Jolene Edwards. The technician was capable of reconnect them that day.

“At 4:30 pm, a CenturyLink tech confirmed up unannounced,” Brown advised us. “Nobody was residence on the time, however he mentioned he would wait. I get the concept that he was advised to not come again till it was mounted.”


Brown’s neighbor, Leonard Bentz, additionally misplaced Web entry on January 13 and remained offline for 2 days longer than Brown. The technician who arrived on February 21 did not reconnect Bentz’s home.

“My accomplice gently tried to egg him to go over there and repair them too, and he kind of mentioned, ‘That is not the ticket that I’ve,'” Brown mentioned.

After getting Bentz’s identify and tackle, we contacted CenturyLink once more on February 22 to inform them that he additionally wanted to be reconnected. CenturyLink later confirmed to us that it restored his Web service on February 23.

“They saved placing me off and placing me off”

Bentz advised Ars that in the course of the month-plus outage, he known as CenturyLink a number of occasions. Customer support reps and a supervisor advised him the corporate would ship somebody to repair his service, however “they saved placing me off and placing me off and placing me off,” Bentz mentioned.

On a type of calls, Bentz mentioned that CenturyLink promised him seven free months of service in trade for the lengthy outage. Brown advised us he acquired a refund for all the size of his outage, plus a bit further. He pays $65 a month for gigabit service.

Brown mentioned he’s “completely satisfied sufficient with the decision,” a minimum of financially since he “acquired all the cash for the non-service.” However these 39 days with out Web service will stay a nasty reminiscence.

Sadly, Web service suppliers like CenturyLink have a historical past of failing to repair issues till media protection exposes their poor customer support. CenturyLink is formally known as Lumen nowadays, but it surely nonetheless makes use of the CenturyLink model identify.

After fixing Brown’s service in Portland, a CenturyLink spokesperson gave us the next assertion:

It is irritating to have your providers down and for that we apologize. We have introduced in further assets to help in restoring service that was knocked out resulting from extreme storms and a number of circumstances of vandalism. Some providers are again, and we’re working diligently to fully restore the whole lot. In reality, we’ve technicians there now. We respect our prospects’ persistence and understanding, and we welcome calls from our prospects to debate their service.


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