Hazard updates constituents on continuing AT&T service work
In an e-mail letter to District 2 constituents late Friday, Mono County Supervisor Hap Hazard updated anxious south county residents as to the state of ongoing work on the AT&T cell service network in the area.
In the letter, Hazard said he had spoken with a higher-level Government Relations Supervisor at AT&T who has unlimited access to management, repairs, and engineering. “The short version of our conversation is that AT&T customer service and repairs does have all the complaints that have been filed,” Hazard wrote. “They clearly know they have problems in our area.”
The Supervisor, who’s been running interference between residents and AT&T, added that the company has had engineers examine and evaluate the situation and develop a strategy for making repairs, and related a distilled version of the details for those he claimed “don’t like too much tech stuff.”
Hazard explained that the wireless system has an antenna on Antelope Peak, which services the Benton area. Once the signal from a phone in Benton travels to the antenna at Antelope Peak, it’s then transferred to a microwave system and sent to Silver Peak. From Silver Peak it is handed off to the Bishop antenna via microwave signal and then sent to hard phone lines.
He said there has been an issue with the signal between the Antelope Peak antenna and the City of Bishop phone lines. It is believed that the problem with the microwave signal is on the Silver Peak tower. The second problem is in the Chalfant area and is believed to be a misaligned cell tower antenna on Silver Peak. The antenna is pointed slightly in the wrong direction to be fully functional and capture the weaker cell phone signal.
AT&T repair crews have reportedly arranged for a helicopter to transport the crews up to Silver Peak on Jan. 18, in an attempt to conduct repairs on both systems and bring them online. “If this is the case and the crews can simply adjust the equipment [that’s already in place] we should have improved service before the end of the week,” Hazard stated. “If it requires additional equipment or some other repair then there could be an added delay.” All this is dependant on good weather.
A side note for those in Hammil Valley: because the crews plan to realign the antenna for Chalfant and make it more directional, residents in that area “may” get a signal. “No promises, but there is a chance of getting a signal to you, too,” Hazard advised cautiously. “This would be a real plus for the Hammil Valley area and would only be coming about as a result of our problems.”
Adora Saulque of the Benton Paiute Tribe related to Hazard that if anyone in the area has experienced a loss of service or no service at all, they can contact AT&T billing or customer service and may be able to negotiate a discount or waiver on their bill. “Keep in mind that the county can’t help you with this issue; we simply have no authority over the phone company,” Hazard said.
“I also want to let you know that Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-25th District), our U.S. Congressman, has also been monitoring [the situation] and working on our behalf,” he assured residents. Hazard closed by saying he hopes to have all the issues “resolved shortly.”