The Fayette Citizen-News Page

Wednesday, June 27, 2001

Cable upgrade almost ready for some here


Thousands of Fayette County residents will soon have new fiber optic cable television service available to them, according to a spokesman for AT&T Broadband.

Activation is expected within approximately a month for the first customers to receive the upgraded service, said spokesman Reg Griffin.

An agreement with the Fayette County government for renewal of the company's franchise here called for completion of the upgrade by last November, but a dispute with the state Department of Transportation over fees to use road rights of way delayed the project.

Earlier this year, the county activated a clause in the agreement that required the company to pay extra fees to the county for missing the activation deadline.

Approximately 8,000 customers will soon receive notification that the new service wil be available in 30 days, Griffin said. The new system will be activated a section at a time, and full activation is expected by October, he said.

Meanwhile, local cable customers also are getting the news this week that the company has done away with its longtime central customer service number 770-559-2000 and replacing it with five numbers that company officials say will improve service.

AT&T and its predecessor, MediaOne, have had a reputation for poor customer service, Griffin admitted. The new phone numbers are an attempt to remedy that, he said.

"We've tried to grapple with this for a number of years," he said. "That model a single call center might have worked great when we were only selling cable TV, but now we have many more products, and we just weren't getting the job done here," he said.

"During the past several months, we've used our 'around town' meetings, monthly customer call-in TV show and other vehicles to truly listen to our customers," said Steve White, senior vice president for AT&T Broadband's Atlanta region. "Our customers have told us loud and clear that we simply must get better at dealing with their phone calls. This is a first step in a major customer care improvement project for our region."

Now, when you call the number to report a cable television problem, you won't be able to ask the technician a question about phone service or high-speed Internet service, as in the past. You'll have to hang up and call a second number.

"They'll have the inconvenience of having to make two calls, but they're going to get their call answered a lot more quickly," said Griffin.

For service and repair problems on video, high-speed Internet or digital phone, call 678-545-7372. Those calls will continue to be answered by technicians here in Atlanta, Griffin said. The phone will be answered by humans 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays.

Automated answering service is available outside of these hours.

To ask a question about your bill for any AT&T product, check your balance or to pay by credit or check card, phone 678-545-2455. Over-the-phone payments will require a $1.50 service charge. Someone will answer the phone 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. week days and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. Automated service is available other times.

AT&T has contracted with specialists to handle other problems, with calls answered in Pensacola, Fla., and Corpus Christi, Texas.

"We're out-sourcing to companies recognized as first class customer service companies," he said.

To schedule installation of video, high-speed Internet or digital phone service, call 678-545-2289 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays.

To move your service from one location to another, or to change or upgrade your existing service, phone 678-545-6683 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays.

And for technical assistance with high-speed Internet services, phone toll-free, 866-447-7333, any time.

For information on AT&T Broadband visit

AT&T Broadband, a business unit of AT&T, is the nation's largest broadband services company, providing analog and digital television entertainment services to about 16 million customers across the nation. The company also provides advanced services, such as high-speed cable Internet services and local phone service.

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