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Peoria Council Criticizes Insight for Internet Interruptions, Lackluster Service

Some residents and businesses in Peoria, Ill., aren’t very happy with Insight Communications these days but there isn’t anything the local authorities can do about it. Insight has recently suffered from Internet service interruptions in the wake of a server migration. The disruptions have caused many residents and companies to lose business, and Peoria city councilman Patrick Nichting said the lack of customer service during the ordeal was less than par.

Nichting said he received dozens of calls from businesses and residents during the service interruptions last month. The lack of Internet service was bad enough, he said. But customers complained that when they did call Insight about the issue, they often couldn’t reach a customer service representative.

“They have a call center in Kentucky, but I guess they don’t have anyone local to answer calls and it overloaded,” Nichting said. The council voted in May to make a formal request that the FCC address the problem of Internet reliability.

“Insight showed up at the city council meeting and said they’re doing everything they can, but this cost a lot of businesses a lot of money,” Nichting said. “We get the complaint calls but we can’t do anything about it.”

Nichting realizes the city of Peoria has no jurisdiction over Insight’s Internet access business so he wants the federal government to do something. At the very least, he hopes Peoria can lure some competition to the area. “We did send that letter to the FCC and hopefully something will come of that,” he said.

John Niebur, district VP at Insight’s Peoria office, was unavailable for comment, but told The Peoria Journal Star that Insight worked overtime to fix the problems. Recently, it contracted with a new third-party vendor to provide Internet access that is more user-friendly. The server experienced a meltdown as user information was being transferred from the old company's server to the new one, affecting customers in Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky.

He told the newspaper that the connectivity problems have been fixed though a few people continued to have problems accessing their emails. Insight still plans to move forward with the information swap to the new vendor, but said next time it will be done "in a much more controlled environment."