BT apologises for phone faults

By Rebecca SheppardA TELEPHONE company has admitted there have been delays in fixing phone lines in East Anglia and has blamed the weather and contractors for the problems.

By Rebecca Sheppard

A TELEPHONE company has admitted there have been delays in fixing phone lines in East Anglia and has blamed the weather and contractors for the problems.

BT's comments came after the East Anglian Daily Times reported that families in Suffolk were facing weeks without a working landline and running up huge mobile phone bills while waiting for the faults to be fixed.

The latest couple to be affected are Alfred Webb, 86, and his wife Naomi, 92, who were left without a working phone for six weeks.

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A spokeswoman for BT said the recent volatile weather conditions, including lightning strikes and flash flooding, had affected the network and caused a rise in the number of faults reported.

She added the company had changed its contractors in East Anglia to North Midland Construction (NMC.

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"We are bringing in extra resources on an ongoing basis to deal with the situation," said the spokeswoman.

"We can't give exact figures, but it has been a very challenging couple of weeks, especially with the extreme weather conditions.

"However, what is of paramount importance to us at all times is the need to keep our customers informed and restore their service as quickly as possible.

"We are doing everything we can to get to customers as quickly as possible. However, there are some delays and for this we apologise."

BT's apology came as Mr and Mrs Webb described the service they received from BT as a "nightmare".

The elderly couple were given a mobile phone after they reported their landline had gone dead. But Mrs Webb, who suffers with bad eyesight, could hardly see the telephone, let alone dial out on it.

Mr Webb, who has heart problems, said: "If she was here at night and anything happened to me, she could not do anything."

The problem with the telephone in the Webbs' house in Chaplin Road, East Bergholt, was reported to BT on July 2 and they were given a temporary phone line this week.

Mr Webb said yesterday: "They have come out, messed about and dug a hole. They have done that and filled it in this morning, but now they have got to dig another one out the front.

"It's been nothing, but a nightmare. We used the mobile phone for a little while, but it kept cutting off.

"They did not actually tell me what was wrong and it is only temporary now. It was not very good, not for the first six weeks."

A spokesman for BT said: "BT apologises to this couple for the length of time they have been experiencing problems with their line.

"We have been striving to resolve the issue and have attempted temporary solutions while the permanent solution is provided.

"Contractors are due back on site in the next 48 hours and we are aiming to fully restore service by Thursday."

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