The North Dakota Public Service Commission has approved an agreement that demands CenturyLink to improve their phone service to some of the communities in western Dakota. The agreement also includes a commitment of 2.66 million dollars in infrastructure improvements. This order came after the Commission filed a complaint against CenturyLink, when they received a series of complaints related to CenturyLink home phone service.
“This settlement shows a major commitment from CenturyLink to improve service to their customers by rehabilitating their cable network and installing more fiber,” said Commissioner Randy Christmann. “Taking care of their staffing shortage problem seems to already be making a noticeable improvement.” He also added that this is the first time in four years that the PSC had to step in to resolve issues.
In the complaint filed by the Commission, the advocacy staffs claimed that CenturyLink violated quality of service requirements for telecommunication businesses, as they failed to address the issues like phone line not working. The complaint also included twenty-eight CenturyLink users who had contacted PSC after the provider failed to address technical issues with their phone service.
The complaints also included users from various areas of the state, but the communities in North Dakota accounted for majority of the complaints. This is why North Dakota was identified as the area with recurring service issues owing to aging infrastructure staffing shortages of CenturyLink.
CenturyLink currently does not have offices in the western side of the state. “Customers in these areas went far too long without adequate telephone service, so this resolution is much needed and long awaited,” said Commission Chair Julie Fedorchak. “The good news is these investments will resolve the telephone issues and significantly enhance broadband services for this area as well.”
The order was a result of the settlement agreement that was worked out between CenturyLink and the Commission advocacy staffs. In this settlement, the telecom provider agrees to:
- Replace or rehabilitate the phone cable routes in Fairview, Mont. exchange and the Belfield exchange.
- Fully staff all the unstaffed positions in western North Dakota to offer timely response and adequate coverage when the uses report issues
- Expand the fiber optic network in the area
- Improve communication with the customers when they report issues
They have also committed to complete the rehabilitation process of the cables and installation of fiber by the end of 2017.