Phone service restored for San Francisquito residents after 15 days

Motorists travel northbound on San Francisquito Canyon Road on Monday, May 1, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

Cheryl Hawkins, who rents out her picturesque ranch to film producers, got a phone call from producers of a TV commercial asking about availability.

Arrangements were made for a producer to “scout out” the location later that same day.

Had the phone call been placed Tuesday morning, however, or placed any other time in the last two weeks, Hawkins wouldn’t have received it.

Phone service for Hawkins and a handful of other residents on San Francisquito Canyon Road had been out for more than two weeks.

On the 15th day, AT&T workers finally fixed the problem, but it got Hawkins wondering, she said, about how much business she lost in the down time.

“It’s unacceptable to be without service for half a month,” she said Tuesday, minutes after phone service had been restored.

Ryan Oliver, spokesman for the AT&T Southern Division, did not have a response available as of press time.

On Sept. 4, a speeding motorist crashed and knocked out a piece of AT&T equipment and, with it, phone service for more than a half-dozen residents in the rural area, she said.

San Francisquito resident Judy Reinsma, also left without phone service, expressed worry and concern the outage would make it impossible for her to call for medical help should the need arise.

Having lived on San Francisquito since 1982 and having watched people die in traffic collisions that have happened in front of her house, the need to call 911 is real and critical.

Had there been a crash in front of her house in the 15 days of no phone service, Reinsma would have been forced to resort to her cell phone and to run around the yard until she found service. Her house is about two miles north of Copper Hill Drive.

When she asked AT&T officials about the return of service, she was told, she said, by one worker, that the damaged equipment was obsolete and that parts needed to repair it would have to be brought in from the East Coast.

“If we called 911, the call would not get through,” she said, noting that phone calls cause the land line phones to ring, but offer no communication.

On the morning before a half-dozen AT&T vehicles showed up on San Francisquito, Reinsma’s frustration had boiled over.

“Well it is 14 days now since the phones were knocked out here,” she said, describing her fellow rural neighbors as much “hotter under the collar than me.”

The delay, according to workers sharing information with Hawkins, hinged on finding “obsolete parts” from other parts of the country that would be compatible with the “obsolete technology” on San Francisquito Canyon Road.

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