For many, one of the most annoying occurrences is a television channel going off, going fuzzy or not coming in once you get seated, popcorn in hand and ready to watch your favorite show. For Ash Flat residents who subscribe to CBN (Crystal Broadband) this is a daily occurrence, one that shows no signs of improving after nearly two years and two company name changes.
In addition to missing three channels and frequent intermittent service, there is also a large section of cable hanging down low enough a horse couldn't cross under it without it tumbling to the ground. There is also cable down in areas on Tuff Street and customers are very discouraged at their lack of service.
Records indicate that e-mails have been sent to the company dating back later than September 2009 about the downed cable, a potentially dangerous situation in Ash Flat. Following numerous promises to repair the situation and give customers back their lacking channels, nothing has been done. As an update for the citizen's of Ash Flat, the Villager Journal made nine phone calls to the Chicago based company before finally reaching a person with authority to discuss the issues.
According to Charles Wesley, with technical support, at CBN, the company purchased 25 percent of the former company Texas based Almega Cable. The company, which coincidentally, although now based out of Chicago, not Texas, still has one of the same employees with which the Villager Journal and the City of Ash Flat corresponded with regarding the cable issues numerous times including last September when the company was still Almega.
Research on the prior company Almega shows there have been numerous allegations and thousands of complaints from all over the United States. They have also been investigated by the Better Business Bureau, which has over 120 complaints nationwide on the company, according to a report on Fox 7 News in Texas. Reports have also been publicized in numerous small newspapers across the nation including, Missouri, Washington, Texas and Arkansas. The report says complaints are from overbilling, losing channels, no signal to no customer service.
Since the big switch, the company has failed to switch to the digital signal. When asked about the downed cable in Ash Flat, Wesley said he was unaware of the issue despite the fact the woman who answered the phone gave the street address of the downed cable when the only information given her was the name of the city of Ash Flat. Wesley explained the reason for the missing channels was that CBN had taken on the debt of Almega and this was something they were working on. Later in the March 10 conversation, Wesley requested a physical address of the downed line and said he had a guy working in the area and would fix it that day. Later in the afternoon, another technician Shawn Smith e-mailed stating the repairman did not have the part to fix the downed cable and said it would be completed on Friday.
Ash Flat City Clerk Charlotte Goodwin said she received a call on March 12 from Lesley telling her the issue would be resolved "this week," which remains to be seen. The company continually offer excuses yet never act on the real issues. Options for area customers include reporting the company to the Better Business Bureau, the Attorney General and Public Services Commission.