New Bern city leaders set up email account to push for better internet service

New Bern

NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) – New Bern’s mayor is getting people in his city involved in a push to improve internet service.

Mayor Dana Outlaw said the city has an email account set up specifically for people to send in complaints about Suddenlink. He said every message will be forwarded to the company and state regulators overseeing internet service, including representatives, senators and the attorney general.

Complaints about Suddenlink can be sent to suddenlinkconcerns@newbernnc.gov.

Outlaw said city officials have heard years of complaints about Suddenlink and tried to get them resolved with no success.

“So we’re essentially doing Suddenlink’s job for them. We’re trying to create a communication between the provider and the customer.” said Outlaw.

The city has received about 50 complaints regarding Suddenlink in the last day.

Outlaw’s short-term goal is to get the company to act as a dependable business and provide reliable internet service at a reasonable price. The long-term goal is to find other internet providers that can offer better service.

“I can tell you Hurricane Florence has been quite a problem for the City of New Bern, but my complaints for the last couple of years have not been Hurricane Florence, they haven’t been potholes on the road. My number one complaint is always Suddenlink,” said Outlaw.

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NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) — New Bern city leaders say they’ve had it with unreliable internet in their area, and it’s time to take action.

New Bern Mayor Dana Outlaw presented a letter written to North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein and the state General Assembly at Tuesday night’s Board of Aldermen meeting. He and others want a faster and safer internet connection for the area through Suddenlink.

“I will tell you since I’ve been mayor, the number one complaint I have, the number one complaint is the present provider,” Outlaw said at Tuesday’s meeting. “In these COVID times, they need communication. They need the ability to connect with healthcare and other things.”

Outlaw believes the service provider in the New Bern area is not holding up its end of the deal. After years of trying to solve the problem with the provider, Outlaw said before Tuesday’s meeting they’ve gotten nowhere.

“I am going to do everything I can in 2021 to make sure the opportunities for safety, to be able to make a health care call … this is not just in the city limits of New Bern, this is River Bend, this is Trent Woods, this is Fairfield Harbor. These folks are isolated,” Outlaw said.

The need for reliable internet is even more important as students rely on it for school.

“You can be right in the middle of a major assignment or something you’re doing and the internet goes off,” Outlaw said.

Members of New Bern’s Board of Aldermen say even they are having issues with Suddenlink at their own homes.

“Whatever it takes to get some better service here, I’m in favor of,” Alderman Robert Aster said.

Leaders in Kinston, Washington and Tarboro are also set to send similar letters to state leaders or, in the case of Washington, have already done so. New Bern’s Board of Aldermen said they will form an alliance with neighboring leaders.

“I have talked with Mayor (Don) Hardy over in Kinston,” Outlaw said. “I’ve talked with Joe Pitt over in Tarboro and I’ve talked with Mayor Don Sadler over in Washington. They all have the same problem we have.”

The board is exploring other options, including having the city provide internet service.

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