DALLAS – Businesses in South Dallas say they’re losing revenue every day because of an unresolved phone and internet outage.
AT&T services in their neighborhood haven’t been working since Christmas Day, and they believe it points to systemic inequalities that have long plagued this part of Dallas.
“We’re a vital part of the community,” said Fred Conwright, co-owner of Two Podners Restaurant. “We deserve better respect than that, for us to have to go through all those channels to get someone to fix it.”
Two Podners has been serving up barbecue and fried catfish for more than 40 years. Their landline phone service is essential to business.
“Our phone is just constantly ringing with people calling, wanting to know where we’re located and what we’re serving,” Conwright said. “Without them, it hurts us.”
Conwright says he’s been too busy figuring out a solution to keep their cash registers up and running for credit card payments, to even begin calculating the lost revenue.
“We had to do cash only for three or four days until we discovered we could get a hotspot to help us run our cash register,” he said.
The AT&T outage is taking a toll on other businesses in this part of South Dallas too.
“We’re talking possibly six figures of a loss within a couple weeks, easily,” said Mark Walker, co-owner of Walker Auto Body and Frame Shop.
This is typically one of his busiest times of the year.
“I’m ready to receive new claims,” Walker said. “Insurance companies are calling my phone, to schedule new clients in here, but when the insurance company can’t get you, they’re calling the next repair facility.”
He’s frustrated by how long it’s taking to get the outage resolved.
“If we were in another part of town, a little farther north, outside of the southern sector of Dallas, our internet and our phone would be up no more than two days, worst case scenario,” said Walker. “It makes me feel terrible. It makes me feel that we get treated unfairly, business owners as well as residents in the southern sector of Dallas. We should be able to operate and have the same services everyone else has.”
Conwright says it shouldn’t be such a fight to draw attention to the problem.
“We just think the infrastructure needs to be better here in this area,” he said.
AT&T wouldn’t tell CBS News Texas the exact number of residents or businesses in this part of Dallas who have been impacted by the outage.
The company did release this statement: “We treat all outages with urgency and handle them as quickly as possible. There were damages to multiple pieces of equipment in multiple areas and we are working around the clock to restore service for our customers.”
AT&T did not give an estimated timeline as to when service will be restored.