Suddenlink Communications/Altice customers in the Silver Valley may have to wait a while longer until they see their digital services back up and running.
According to sources close to the situation, heavy flooding in the Walla Walla, Wash. area is responsible for the extended service outage that has plagued local Suddenlink users since Feb. 7.
It is believed that heavy floodwaters caused a bridge to wash out and in-turn, damage accompanying fiber lines that provide internet to customers across the Spokane/North Idaho area and beyond.
If that weren’t enough, the damaged lines are reportedly under the floodwaters and located near a mandatory evacuation zone. These two factors have made it impossible for repair crews to fully assess the extent of the damage and fix the issue.
A Suddenlink outage record from Feb. 9, provided by Katelyne Jenkin, shows that the “all service” outage is due to a “fiber cut/break.” The record also shows that the outages have affected over 4,000 customers.
Walla Walla Emergency Management Director Liz Jessee could not specify exactly where this damage is located, but she told the News-Press that a total of seven bridges within Walla Walla and Walla Walla County have received heavy damage and one in College Place has been completely washed out.
“It is a flooding event of historic proportions,” she said.
As of Monday night, Suddenlink Communications had not contacted Walla Walla Emergency Management about the issue.
Floodwaters are expected to recede Tuesday, allowing for the lifting of the evacuation order. At this time, technicians will be able to gain access to the damage and assess the situation.
If access is not able to be achieved, crews may implement a temporary aerial fix on Feb. 11 due to safety concerns.
With an already rocky track record when it comes to reliable service in the Silver Valley, locals have been motivated to voice their displeasure with the internet provider.
“Suddenlink, everyone is out for a while due to a bridge collapse in Washington,” Suzi Quincy stated on social media. “Regardless of this current situation, Suddenlink is consistently out every month sometimes twice. I have filed a complaint on behalf of the valley to the FCC and I advise everyone to do the same.”
The Federal Communications Commission consumer complaint center number is (888)-225-5322.
No representatives with Suddenlink Communications could be reached for comment, information on the situation, or how/if customer billing will be addressed.
Suddenlink Communications customer service number is (877)-794-2724. Customers can also initiate a live chat by following this link here.