In Winfield, MO more than 20 disgruntled internet customers gathered at City Hall after contacting 5 On Your Side. Winfield businessman Dave Gardner was the catalyst for the gathering. Gardner has been a CenturyLink internet customer for four years and he’s not happy about the service he’s receiving.

“Being that they’ve got a monopoly here in town, I don’t think we have anywhere else to go,” said Gardner.

Gardner said a CenturyLink representative verbally promised internet download speeds of 10 megabits per second. Several internet speed tests at his office Thursday afternoon showed he was getting a download speed of 4 megabits per second or less.

“When everyone gets online at the same time, that speed drops dramatically,” said Gardner.

Following phone calls and social media posts from Gardner, 23 other CenturyLink customers gathered at Winfield City Hall early Thursday evening. When asked how many of them were unhappy with their internet service, all raised their hands. Chris Sitton said she has been a CenturyLink internet customer for 15 years.

“I can’t stream Netflix, I can’t do online tests for my school, we can’t even get online to load a web page,” said Sitton. “We have no other options for the internet at this time. To me, it’s like they’re scamming us, telling us they’re giving us one thing, but we’re not getting that. We’re not even getting a half or a quarter of what we’re paying for.”

Kevin Herberg is a business owner in nearby Chain of Rocks, MO, six miles from Winfield.

“It’s bad when the ads on Facebook and the ads in email have to stop and buffer because it’s so slow,” said Herberg, “and there’s nothing they can do for it and they just don’t seem to care.”

In an email to Five On Your Side, CenturyLink spokesperson Nancy DeVinay-McNeley responded. 

"CenturyLink strives to provide the best possible service at all times. As a customer-first business, we take any complaint seriously. Given the significant growth in population in Winfield and Lincoln County, we already have plans to install approximately 65 miles of fiber in and around the Winfield area by the end of 2017. In addition, we plan on upgrading internet capacity in this area by the middle of the year.”