The city of Denison will be hosting a community forum with representatives from AT&T next week to discuss coverage and reception issues facing customers near the city's core. City officials said residents have been voicing complaints about AT&T service in the area since an area tower was vandalized and destroyed in late 2015.
The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at the Denison SNAP Center.
“The City is excited to host AT&T representatives at the upcoming forum,” City Manager Jud Rex said in an emailed statement Wednesday. “We've been working hard on behalf of Denison citizens over the past few months to get to this point. The lack of coverage, especially in the downtown area, has really impacted Denison residents and business and that's when Team Denison sprung into action. We're grateful for AT&T's willingness to take a closer look at the issues in Denison.”
Denison Community Engagement Director Sunny Mackey said the event will allow members of the community to discuss issues with AT&T service. This will also allow representatives with the phone company to discuss what they are doing to resolve the issues and provide on-site technical help, Mackey said.
Mackey said the issues facing customers range from a lack of coverage to dropped calls and poor reception primarily focused on downtown and the city's main corridors, including Austin Avenue.
Rex said the service interruptions have not directly affected city business as Denison contracts with Verizon for its wireless needs. However, he said many local businesses have been negatively impacted by the poor service, he said.
Calls to AT&T for comment on the forum and service in Denison were not immediately returned Wednesday afternoon.
The issues with service started after a cellphone tower on Crawford Street was vandalized and destroyed in November 2015. In addition to AT&T, the tower was also used by T-Mobile, Sprint and area 911 services, however AT&T appears to be the only service with ongoing issues.
The phone company offered a $7,500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the incident. However, police have yet to identify a suspect in the case, Denison Police Lt. Mike Eppler said Wednesday.
Following the incident, AT&T put up a temporary tower to help with coverage while repairs were taking place. However, despite repairs in early 2016, service has yet to return to normal for many customers, Mackey said.
“What we hear from customers is that service really hasn't been the same since the incident,” she said.