ME. CHARLESTON (FOX5) -- People living on Mt. Charleston said they’re almost solely dependent on landlines for communication – including if there’s an emergency.
"In the winter time it gets really bad up here. This winter we got 20 feet of snow, so communications is really important,” said Mt. Charelston resident, Jimmy Alderson. “During the summer time we're in a fire zone, so communications are really important for that as well and we also have a lot of hikers that come up and get lost so and so communication for that is important as well."
In 2005, an avalanche took out previously installed landline cables running from Kyle Canyon to Lee Canyon. CenturyLink’s solution was to install equipment at a Girl Scout camp on the mountain to give people living in Lee Canyon access to phone services.
In 2017, that camp closed, but CenturyLink continued using the facility to house its equipment.
Now, residents have been informed that CenturyLink is exploring “new technologies” that would replace the old equipment – but they’re concerned that they’ll lose their only lifeline to emergency services in the process.
"They've said that they have to remove the landlines and replace them with satellite up-link. The problem is, we rely on our landlines. A lot of houses don't have power, but they have landlines. A lot of times if you want to be able to use the satellite in the winter you can't because if it snows the satellite goes out,” said Alderson.
FOX5 reached out to CenturyLink about the situation at Mt. Charleston. They responded with this statement.
Century Link understands how important it is for our customers to have reliable services. To best support customers in the Lee Canyon area, we made the decision to evaluate alternate technologies for delivering services. Once a determination has been made, customers with be notified directly.
When FOX5 followed up with additional questions, there was no response.
The Mt. Charleston Fire chief also said he was concerned as their communication systems are tied in with CenturyLink too.
"I've heard everything from it's going to be a real pain in the butt to what would happen in an emergency to how could we call people, what would we do as backup? But there would be no backup...right now if the internet goes out, we have century link for the landlines but in this case, there would be none,” said Alderson.