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Monday, December 4, 2023
HomeOpinionLetter to the EditorLetter to the Editor: Regulators should be pressing Windstream, not praising them

Letter to the Editor: Regulators should be pressing Windstream, not praising them

In recent weeks, Kinetic (a.k.a Windstream) has been praised for delivering gigabit internet services to Grayson, only after receiving a quarter of a million dollars in taxpayer money. This is great news for the residents of Grayson.

But what about those folks that live out in the county? My father lives less than 10 miles outside of city limits and is limited to less than four megabits per second – and at exorbitant prices. Not to mention the lackluster quality of his telephone voice line. Typically, his bill would be over $100 for this poor service.

DSL was first offered in the Leon area in 2005, when I was nine years old. We spent the better part of the first five or so years going back and forth with Alltel (the initial provider) and then Windstream. For that long period of time, our DSL internet was slow, unreliable, and mostly unusable. In essence, we were stuck with dial-up until 2010 – the year I started high school.

Technician after technician, sometimes contractors, would visit our home and attempt to fix the problem. Often it would improve for a short while, then we were back to the internet dropping over few days to every few hours. Rendering this slow, expensive service unusable.

Now, more than 15 years after the initial offering of DSL, the internet is still slow. To give Windstream a tiny bit of credit, it has become more stable. In today’s world, this level of service is simply unacceptable. To give you an idea of what this service is like, if more than one person is trying to watch a video on a streaming service, our internet service pretty much folds and dies.

There are alternatives, like satellite. Typical satellite internet service is expensive, relatively slow, and unreliable. Most have data caps, like your monthly cell phone data plan.

Satellite TV service was given up years ago due to its increasing cost. The increase of online streaming services makes fast, reliable internet service that more important.

Starlink by SpaceX has been the most promising alternative. However, it has an expensive entry cost of nearly $600 for equipment, not including the monthly $110 service plan. It’s also currently limiting how many customers they have in a “cell.” This makes obtaining the equipment, if one can afford it, difficult.

Another alternative is home internet service now provided by cellular providers – however my father lives in a dead zone, nullifying that option.

Cable internet is an option for many people, but not here.

So, what are we left with? Kinetic or Windstream, whichever they’re calling themselves this week. For years, they have profited from terrible service to their customers. At one time, there was talks by our elected officials to act against this company. But that seems to have fizzled away as Kinetic (or Windstream) is given these large sums of taxpayer funds to improve a service they should have been able to do years ago – without government assistance.

It doesn’t take a scientist to realize how little Windstream cares for their infrastructure. A drive-up KY 1661 and Leon Road will lead an observer to note the numerous trees laying on utility lines.

Numerous calls to improve our service always lead to the same answer, you’ve “got the best we offer in your area.”

One ponders about our youth, who depend on the internet now more than ever to complete coursework. How will this singular company’s lack of commitment and monopolistic nature affect the future generation? The safety of our elders? Our ability to effectively communicate?

So, I say again, why are our elected officials and regulators not pressing this company to provide adequate service to its customers?

— Cory Claxon

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