Concerns over high-speed internet installation in Bellevue

A new fiber-optic Internet installation is causing issues throughout Bellevue.
Published: Feb. 7, 2023 at 5:52 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - A new internet option in Bellevue is causing some issues for residents. They’re reporting damage done during the installation of the new fiber-optic lines.

“We welcome competition, and this should be really exciting and everybody should be pretty pumped about this, but instead, people are angry. And they’re not happy,” said Allie Huffstutler.

About three weeks ago, a utility box for the internet suddenly popped up in the Huffstutlers’ yard. They say the crew that put it in knocked out part of their sprinkler system.

“Right here on the sidewalk, there’s a sprinkler head. There was a sprinkler head. Who knows where it is now,” said Ryan Huffstutler.

They’ve tried to make a claim to get it fixed, but no luck.

“We have yet to hear from Fastwyre directly. We call their number. No one ever answers. We leave a message. No one calls back. With the city, a couple of people did come out. They talked with us. But not a lot of action was taken. It was just condolences essentially,” said Allie.

“Calling my office or myself or the mayor’s office really does create a chain telephone game going on,” he said.

Bellevue residents are growing concerned about the installation of a new broadband internet option.

Other people reported torn-up lawns, a damaged mailbox, and ruptured gas and utility lines. 6 News confirmed that the subcontractors hit multiple gas lines so far. The city’s public works director, Doug Clark, said that while hit lines are expected to happen occasionally -- if the number of mistakes becomes excessive, the city will hold Fastwyre accountable.

Clark said the city pressed Fastwyre about the lack of communication, something the company was supposed to handle according to the agreement approved last year.

“I do believe that we’re filling a gap that was left by Fastwyre’s lack of communication. And the frustration that we see from the citizens is justifiable,” he said.

6 News obtained a letter signed by the Fastwyre Broadband team that’s supposed to be sent out to residents Tuesday. It was also posted online with an update from the city Friday.

The letter outlines what’s to come in neighborhoods and who to call for any issues. Ryan Huffstutler tried to call that number and was sent to an automated voicemail.

That number is on flyers, which Clark said should be put on people’s homes now before work is done in the yard.

It’s a number that’s been on the city website since last year.

The city’s Friday update assured people that damage done by the installation will be fixed at the expense of the company. Officials said those fixes will likely happen in the spring.

As of Tuesday evening, the Huffstutlers are still waiting on a confirmation that their message was received and the problem was documented.

For concerns about Fastwyre Broadband installation, the city is directing calls to 1-833-389-0040.