The head of Fibrant, Salisbury's four year old fiber optic broadband utility, had strong words for a vendor that he blames for an outage that left many customers without phone service for hours, and in some cases days.
"This is unacceptable," Kent Winrich told WSTP Radio's Kent Bernhardt live on the air Tuesday morning. "We are actively looking for another vendor right now."
The outage, which left many Fibrant customers without phone service, happened late last week. Home phones were dead, and business phones were also out. Bernhardt told Winrich that he was familiar with one restaurant owner who said he had to turn away more than a dozen customers because the restaurant could not run the credit card due to the phone being down.
Winrich said that the vendor "made a change" without notifying Fibrant, and that the change cut phone service for many customers. Winrich said when they first confronted the vendor over the issue, the vendor denied making the change, but later admitted it and began working with Fibrant to restore service.
Winrich told Bernhardt that any customers who lost service would be getting restitution and that the money would not come from the city budget.
"We are holding them responsible," Winrich said, referring to the vendor that he did not name in the interview. "They made a change without telling us and there is an unwritten rule in the IT world that you just don't do that."
Winrich said that he would be on the phone with that vendor today to talk about restitution and making refunds to Fibrant customers.
"We expect better," Winrich added. "We're not going to take this and we're not going to allow this to happen."
Local businessman Andy Meng took to Facebook to post his complaint about losing phone service at his home and at his laundromats for several days. On Monday, Meng also called WSTP to complain. That complaint prompted Mayor Paul Woodson to visit Meng and assure him that the service would be restored.
That visit seemed to please Meng who later posted on Facebook "Woodson for President!"
"I will always be a Fibrant customer," Meng said Tuesday morning. "I am extremely pleased with the service and I am extremely pleased with the price."