Frail residents 'cut off for a month' after landline 'lifeline' lost

Former BBC Royal correspondent Michael Cole is among those affected by the loss of a landline phone service near Framlingham.

Former BBC Royal correspondent Michael Cole is among those affected by the loss of a landline phone service near Framlingham. He is concerned about frail neighbours who only have a landline. - Credit: Archant

Householders near Framlingham could be cut off from communication with the outside world for a month after a telephone pole went down.  

As many as 30 homes between Dennington and Owls Green lost their landline phone service on August 31 when it is understood a truck hit the pole.

While some residents have mobile phones and email access, concerns have been raised over elderly and frail neighbours who only have their landline.

Owls Green resident Michael Pearce, 78, said it was "ridiculous" it could take until September 27 for the line to be fixed.

He is particularly worried about a poorly neighbour, adding the couple "cannot afford to be without a landline phone for a month".

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"I'm okay," he said. "It's just the people who haven't got proper communications. It's their lifeline.

"BT have known about this for over a week. First of all [they said it would be fixed] September 15, now 27. This is the 21st century. This is ridiculous."

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He has mobile signal, but he described it as "bad" and had to make the call to this newspaper outside.

Another resident, Michael Cole, said "wars have been fought and won in less time".

"It's extremely inconvenient," he said. "We are reasonably well off because we have cell phone and email available, but I'm also running a business and that is heavily inconvenienced because many of my clients get in touch with me by landline.

"But we are thinking mainly of people who have only the landline as their means of communication.

"There are people who are old and vulnerable and frail and they are really having to rely on the goodwill of their neighbours should they have an emergency."

He described Dennington Hill, the road where the telephone pole in question is located, as single-track and added the line is vulnerable to being hit by a lorry or tree.

"We exist on 19th century technology here," he said.

BT was approached for comment. A spokesperson said they were contacting Openreach, which is a separate business. 

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