Crossed wires leads to phones fiasco

TELEPHONE lines in a Suffolk village were well and truly crossed after an engineering problem led to numbers getting reconnected to the wrong houses.

Russell Claydon

TELEPHONE lines in a Suffolk village were well and truly crossed after an engineering problem led to numbers getting reconnected to the wrong houses.

It is believed a tractor accidentally sliced through a cable and cut off the whole of Bruisyard, near Framlingham - but then there were further problems repairing it.

John Gibb, of Church Road, was one of a number of residents who found they had been connected to someone else's phone line after the repair was carried out.

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A journalist who works from home, he was left without his own telephone line for 23 hours in total and was worried about the bills that could have been run up off his number.

“The result has been a complete mess,” he said. “I had no phone calls coming through and people could have been using my phone to call all over the world.”

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His line had been connected through to a neighbour in the same road who also needed it for their business.

In total 10 residents were said to have had their line switched with another property in the mix-up yesterday.

After a similar accident happened last winter, where a damaged cable left residents without a line for two weeks, Mr Gibb is calling on BT to invest in deeper cables.

He said: “The cables are so old and in the wrong places that this happens every year. They should be laid so many feet under the ground.

“It is not just the calls it is the emergency service you lose. If someone falls and breaks their head how do you get in touch?

“The other problem is mobile reception here, which is nearly non-existent. It is a black hole and most old people here do not use mobile telephones. We are quite vulnerable here.”

Robert Smith, the owner of an architect business on Low Road, was left without a line for six hours due to the incident and described the loss of communications as “very frustrating”.

He said: “It is an absolutely appalling service. They tell us to divert to mobiles but our mobile signal here is virtually zilch.”

A spokesperson for BT last night said the depth of the cable in Bruisyard met their standards and they would get the other affected residents' lines fixed today.

“We have suffered third party damage to one of our underground cables,” he said. “We have been on site but have encountered a problem in jointing this cable, which has caused crossed lines, and we currently have around 10 fault reports. Engineers will be back on site tomorrow to rectify this problem.”

He added the fault last year in the village was due to a lightning strike on the same section of cable and not because of the depth of the cable.

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