SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - The Jefferson Center in downtown Sarasota reached out to ABC7 after three weeks of interrupted phone service. At least 12 of the residents said their landlines are not working.
The senior housing community relies on Frontier Communication to get their medication and keep in contact with their families. One residents said her Life Alert doesn’t work without her landline. Another has the phone set up to automatically send messages to her family every time she takes her medication.
But they said it’s been three weeks since their phones have worked and on Tuesday morning, Frontier didn’t show up like they said they would.
“It doesn’t work, because I don’t have phone service!!!” Paulette Flaherty exclaimed.
Her patience is running thin.
“It’s really hard when you can’t hear, and they’re not making it easier," she said.
Flaherty’s special landline phone types out what the person on the other end is saying, which is crucial for her to make doctor’s appointments, plan her knee surgery and refill prescriptions.
“I can’t just call, I have to get in my car and go," she said. "I hate driving!”
But that’s what she’s had to for weeks and she’s not alone.
“I picked up the phone to make a call and it was dead," said Peter McGinn, who also lives at the Jefferson Center.
McGinn, Flaherty and 10 other residents who live there still have no phone service. They said they’ve called Frontier Communications at least 10 times, only to be told there’s a cut wire downtown.
“That’s it," said Flaherty. "There’s a cut wire downtown. Guess what? Six months ago, there was a cut wire downtown!”
Back in February, staff at the Jefferson Center said this same thing happened. They said it took weeks then for service to be restored and now, the same group of seniors are having the same problem.
“What about these older people in this building that have Frontier and let’s say fall, [or] they feel like they’re getting a heart attack," said Flaherty. "They can’t call 911! They’re supposed to drag themselves to the neighbor or downstairs to the office to say call an ambulance for me?!”
“My phone at the moment is the only connection I have with the outside world" agreed McGinn.
“I called [your family,]" assured a staff member to McGinn. "I called them. They know you’re okay.”
ABC7 reached out to Frontier Communications to resolve the issue. In a statement, the media representative for Frontier Communications said:
“An older section of copper cable took on water the weekend before last causing customers at Jefferson Center to lose landline service. All of the rain we’ve been getting, coupled with the need to locate cable to match this older variety, caused the repairs to take longer than we anticipated. The good news is that the job should be completed tomorrow. We apologize to the affected residents at Jefferson Center for the delay.”