Nederland revokes AT&T permit

Published 8:56 pm Thursday, January 10, 2019

NEDERLAND — The city of Nederland has temporarily revoked AT&T’s permit to work due to residential complaints about the company’s subcontractors.

Over the past few months, AT&T’s subcontractors have been in Southeast Texas making fiber upgrades to their network.

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The city released a statement on a Facebook post about the reports from citizens.

“We’ve been getting some complaints from our residents about some of the work,” City Manager Chris Duque said. “(Contractors) have been getting on to private property without notifying the property owner, crossing their property without giving notice.”

Duque said residents sent pictures of equipment left in property owners’ yards and ruts left by trucks driven by the subcontractors.

“It’s unsightly,” Duque said of the yard damage. “A lot of people try to keep a manicured yard and keep it clean. That’s going to be very frustrating for them.”

The city manager said some issues have been more serious and involve safety concerns.

“We’ve had issues with lack of proper traffic control,” Duque said. “That’s been few and far between, but it has come up.”

One resident said subcontractors broke a water and gas line near a home.

“We’ve had two water leaks that have been caused by the contractor,” Duque said. “One was right before Christmas. We’ve already advised the company that we’re going to be sending them the bill because that was overtime, manpower and so on. Nederland taxpayers shouldn’t have to be footing the bill for accidents that weren’t caused by us.”

The city pulled AT&T’s permit in late December and no further work was supposed to be done until the permit is restored.  However, the city had to shut down work by the company Thursday.

“That was reported to us and we went out in the field,” Duque said. “We stopped that work and contacted their higher ups and told them they don’t have a permit. They trenched along the right of way, so we made them fill it and make it safe and told them to get out. We had our people sitting on top of them and making sure it’s all done right.”

Duque said he was willing to say that incident was a mix up, but wants residents to inform the city if they see work being done before the permit is reissued.

“We look for them to restart their work on Tuesday,” he said.

Duque said AT&T agreed to make the city whole on the costs of repairs. The city met with the company to discuss the issues plaguing residents Wednesday. Duque said the meeting went well and AT&T acknowledged the city’s concerns.

“They have given us assurances that they are going to work to make sure that this doe not continue,” Duque said. “That was positive to hear. They have about six-to-eight weeks left of work before they are done in our city.”

Duque said AT&T gave the number on the Facebook post for residents to call regarding complaints about the work being done in the area. Those wishing to file a complaint should call 409-892-1209.

“It seems like they are trying to do their best to make this right as they finish,” Duque said of AT&T. “Hopefully we can get these issues under control as we finish the project.”