City of Lawrence lifts cease and desist order for AT&T that was put in place because of ‘reckless, illegal and discourteous’ behavior

photo by: AP File

AT&T Communications corporate offices in San Antonio.

The City of Lawrence has lifted the cease and desist order it issued to AT&T last week over “reckless” behavior, citing an agreement with AT&T to address concerns.

The city issued the cease and desist order to AT&T and its subcontractors on July 15 for all active projects in the city because of numerous complaints. In the order, the city stated it had received complaints from residents and other public utility companies on “numerous occasions” regarding AT&T’s “continuous reckless, illegal, and discourteous behavior within the City.” The order states that the main problem is AT&T and its contractors working in the right of way without having properly located utility lines. The city stated there had been multiple instances of AT&T and its contractors hitting public utilities and competitors’ infrastructure because utility location was not performed in advance.

In a news release Friday, the city stated it had met with AT&T representatives and other local utility providers on Monday to discuss the safety concerns and that following that conversation AT&T committed to the following measures regarding its work in Lawrence going forward:

•Participating in regularly scheduled utilities meetings on its current project;

•Meeting with contractors to re-emphasize the importance of 811 locate procedures and city excavation requirements;

•Continuing to comply with all federal, state and local laws, and continuing to require the same from its contracts;

•Promptly addressing concerns brought to AT&T regarding contractor work on the project;

•Working closely with other utilities to improve communication channels and address issues quickly;

•Performing a field inspection of the existing fiber projects and correcting any outstanding safety concerns/property owner issues.

In a response letter to the city, AT&T, which is working on a fiber optic cable network, stated in part that it understood the city’s concerns and took them seriously, and would work cooperatively with the city to address them. In the news release, the city thanked AT&T for its responsiveness to the concerns of Lawrence residents and other utility services and for working quickly with the city to resolve the issues.

If residents have questions about AT&T construction, they can call AT&T’s hotline at 785-354-9522.

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