NEW PORTLAND — Getting on the Internet at home lately has been an irritating experience for Tyler Maynard, his wife and two children.

They try not to check their email unless it’s urgent and simply scrolling down a Facebook page takes minutes. Forget about watching videos, he said.

Maynard’s 8-year-old daughter used to learn the words to songs by singing along with music downloaded on the computer. Since summer, though, she can’t.

The Maynard household is one out of about 20 to 30 in West New Portland that is living with extremely slow broadband speeds. The slowdown started seven months ago when a storm damaged a TDS Telecom cable.

It’s a problem TDS is aware of and is working to fix, but Maynard, 31, said he’s tired of waiting. He pays about $30 per month for 5 megabits per second, but often gets a speed of 0.5, he said.

A TDS technician confirmed that his computer wasn’t the problem, he said. So he wants to know what the problem is.

TDS isn’t sure yet, but it might have something to do with nearby Central Maine Power electric equipment.

“With broadband if there’s a transformer or substation nearby it can basically cause errors in the data connection. We had CMP come out and try to identify some areas. The problem is it’s about six miles of cable, so it’s hard to identify where it is,” said Tom Murray, manager of state affairs for TDS.

Judy Durland, of West New Portland, said she would like her Internet cost prorated, based on the speed.

“I honest to God would like to see TDS stop going around the barn. Tell us exactly: Are we or aren’t we going to get improved service? If not, then reduce the price that we have to pay for Internet service,” she said.

Her 39-year-old son, Glenn Durland, also lives in West New Portland and said he went through a stretch where the Internet only worked every other day. A technician determined that the problem didn’t lie with his computer, he said.

He needs the Internet in order to work, he said, but sometimes a half-hour task takes an hour-and-a-half to two hours.

“The bottom line is we know about the issue. We’re in the process of addressing the issue, and we hope to have it fixed in the near future,” Murray said, though he had no anticipated date for the return of faster Internet speeds.

TDS upgraded its equipment early last summer before a June storm appeared to damage a cable that served 168 customers. There was a phone and Internet outage for several days before TDS reverted to the slower connection it had before the upgrades.

Murray said TDS is working with CMP “to troubleshoot it and address the issue” and that TDS will credit those affected. “Believe me, we don’t want to have frustrated customers,” he said.

Erin Rhoda — 612-2368

[email protected]

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