Anger over phone line failure

SCORES of furious residents and businesses in the heart of a historic town have called for compensation after losing their vital phone lines for five days.

SCORES of furious residents and businesses in the heart of a historic town have called for compensation after losing their vital phone lines for five days.

More than 140 BT customers were hit by a "major cable fault" on Friday evening, wiping out a large section of the Westgate Ward in Bury St Edmunds.

It is believed family members of one elderly resident became so concerned that they called police to make sure their loved one was safe.

Now, after BT bosses apologised to affected customers, irate residents and local businesses have launched a bitter attack on the phone giants.

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One resident of Rosbrook Close told the EADT: "I think the whole thing is diabolical and I am very annoyed about it.

"I tried to ring BT yesterday morning on a pay phone and I was forced to stay on the line for 20 minutes before someone answered.

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"And then I got through to some Indian-sounding woman who was no help and didn't know the area. "I'm not blaming her but how can you converse with someone like that? All I was told was that there was a fault on the line – you don't need to be a scientist to work that out."

Residents living in or near the areas of Park Road, Winchester Road and Cadogan Road have suffered the phone blackout since a storm hit the area on Friday.

One of them, Susan Cattermole, 68, of Winchester Road, said: "In our area there are an awful lot of elderly people and the potential dangers speak for themselves – any of the residents could have been in serious trouble.

"There is no good reason for such a long delay and it is not good enough. I want action immediately and I want compensation as everyone has had enough of this incompetence."

Mark Miller, owner of the Last Cast fishing shop, claimed he had lost more than £500 since the phone lines went down making him unable to use his credit card machine.

"It has all been an absolute nightmare – I just can't see how it can take this long," Mr Miller said. "I would accept maybe a day or two but this is very annoying.

"You would think they would have some kind of back up system to ensure lines are restored as quickly as possible."

Apologising to residents, a spokesman for BT said he hoped the lines should be restored sometime today after repair work was carried out last night .

"We started getting reports of problems on Saturday and it was caused by a major cable fault," the spokesman said.

"There were about 140 customers who became affected after a fault in about 300 metres of cable in the town centre.

"This should have been fixed last night and then the cables can be back up and running sometime today. We are not yet sure what caused the cable break but Friday's storm is one possibility.

"We would like to apologise to all those affected and we can assure them we are doing all we can to resolve the problem as quickly as possible."

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