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UPD Sudbury Locals Left Without Broadband and Phone from BT for 2 Weeks

Monday, February 24th, 2014 (8:46 am) - Score 752
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Residents and businesses on and around Melford Road in the small market town of Sudbury (Suffolk, England) have been left without broadband and phone services since 4th February 2014 when a car hit a local BT telegraph pole and damaged its cables.

Initially some 1,300 homes also suffered a loss of power and the road was closed for 6 hours in order to allow for vital repair work. But an unknown number of premises in the immediate area have continued to remain without access to the Internet or a working phone service for over two weeks.

Meanwhile locals complain that BTOpenreach, which is responsible for maintaining the local telecoms infrastructure, has been giving them the run-around.

Sylvia Dales, Owner of a Local Pottery Business, said:

We are invisible as far as they are concerned. They keep telling us one thing which is then contradicted. You never get to speak to the same person twice. The latest I have been told is that it will be fixed on February 28, but that is ages away. We just can’t understand why it would take so long.

BT keeps giving us false information. It seems impossible to get any true information, and it’s so frustrating. It’s affecting all of our lives in different ways.”

Unfortunately the summary on Suffolk Free Press doesn’t include an official comment from BT and so we’ve shot off a request in order to get their side of the story and a reason for why it’s taking so long to repair the cables, which should in theory be easier if they’re over-ground.

At least it’s not as bad as the plight of 10 homes in a rural Fife (Scotland) village, near St Michaels Inn, where another BT fault left locals without a working broadband and phone service for over two months (here).

Unfortunately lengthy outages, especially in rural areas, are a lot more common during periods where Openreach’s resources are being stretched, such as that which has been caused by the recent flooding.

UPDATE 25th Feb 2014

BTOpenreach has furnished us with a statement in which they apologise to locals for the problems.

An Openreach Spokesperson told ISPreview.co.uk:

We’re sorry that it’s taking longer than usual to reconnect these properties. Unfortunately we are dealing with a large volume of faults in the area as a result of the recent extremely bad weather and we are doing all we can to carry out repairs as quickly as possible. However, some repairs can be complex, time consuming and involve the replacement of substantial sections of underground or overhead cabling.

Openreach needs to install 50 metres of new cabling to reconnect these customers whilst traffic management is also required in order to start this work. The good news is that this is now in place and our engineers are working to restore services to those affected as soon as possible.”

Leave a Comment
5 Responses
  1. Avatar George

    I wonder why it is always small towns/villages/areas which get affected by stuff like this. A phone pole gets knocked over by a car in the middle of London and BT turn up the same day or 2-3 at the most.

    Meanwhile from this and the other linked to article in the story it appears if you are only a small community you are left to suffer until they can be bothered to fix it. What makes matters even worse is if you live rural or in any type of small or cut off location it could be argued your phone is of even more importance. It is not like you can just walk a few minutes up the road to the hospital if you are ill as an example unlike if you live in many city centres. I also imagine even if you have a mobile that is a touch more unreliable in the middle of nowhere compared to the city.

    I guess some organisations just have funny ideas when it comes to priority. That or calculate that small community equals less complaints than an incident in big city.

    • Avatar DTMark

      I’d assume that when emergencies occur, the priority is given to resurrecting service for as many people as possible, as quickly as possible.

      In that manner a set of broken E-sides or pairs of D-sides in a built up area might impact more people than the same in a lightly populated area.

      And coming first, above all of those, customers with SLAs e.g. leased lines/EFM.

      What is the sanction imposed on BT for this lengthy loss of service?

      If the answer is “none”, this may explain the timescales.

  2. Avatar Sledgehammer

    All this shows how inept BT is at looking after its customers.

  3. Avatar alan

    Before I retired from BT some 10 years ago, I was the local external maintenance engineer in Sudbury.
    I was there to maintain all ADSL, fibre optic, Kilostream connections
    We would have had an external gang there within hours and they would have worked through the night to restore service.
    In one instance I had a 4 x 4 knock a pole down at 0830. I had a pole erection crew on sight at 10.30am which travelled up from the Clacton depot. The pole was replaced by 1200noon and all phone services restored by 1600 hours
    Thats the way to do it !

    • Avatar DTMark

      Watching an episode of Inspector Morse recently in which an elderly man’s line was not working.. when reported by someone else, an engineer was round later that day or the next and said something like “Why didn’t you say he was retired? We would have had someone round by lunchtime”.

      Sadly, in this case, the line had been cut by the person who shot him, so in that respect it probably wasn’t really very urgent.

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