Suffolk: Widow, 84, claims it has been like ‘living on a desert island’ after four-week battle with BT over faulty phone line

Audrey, 84, has been without a BT landline for a month..

Audrey, 84, has been without a BT landline for a month.. - Credit: Archant

An 84-year-old Suffolk widow has been left feeling she’s “living on a desert island” after losing her BT phone line four weeks ago.

Audrey lives alone in a village not far from Ipswich. We have decided not to publish her full name for reasons of personal security.

She lost her phone on October 12 – and is still waiting to be reconnected. At the time she lost her line, she was in the process of being connected to the local council’s alarm system – but that relies on a telephone landline.

The situation has left her distressed: “I really don’t know what to do. I’m on my own here and I need to be connected to the phone. I feel as if I’m living on a desert island.”

She has had her phone number transferred to her mobile phone – but the reception is very poor and she often has to go outside to get a signal.

And the lack of a phone line also means she cannot use a computer. “I may be quite old but I use e-mail to keep in touch with people and that all relies on the phone line.”

A spokesman for BT said engineers had been in touch with Audrey – and the line should be fixed tomorrow.

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He said: “Having carried out investigations this fault requires the replacement of around 120 metres of aerial cable. We are in the process of planning the works needed which will also need a road closure to enable us to complete the repair.

“Engineers have tried, but have not been able to provide a temporary service, whilst we work on the main repair. We are doing all we can to get this line restored as quickly as possible.

“We have been in contact with the customer to apologise directly for the extended nature of this repair and will keep her full updated on progress.”

Meanwhile residents on the edge of Ipswich are still waiting for phone lines to be reconnected after they were brought down in last week’s storm.

Randall Bevan, who lives near Trinity Park, is a Talk Talk customer – but that company uses BT lines to carry its calls.

He said: “We are waiting for Openreach (part of BT) to fix the lines – but nothing seems to be happening and we have to go through Talk Talk who deal with them.

“When the industry was privatised in the 1980s I thought we had a choice – but it seems BT still have a monopoly on the phone lines themselves.”

The BT spokesman said: “Openreach, the part of BT that looks after the local network, is dealing with an increased workload at the moment across the region, following last week’s high winds and heavy rainfall.

“We are managing resources to keep repair times as short as possible, however, a number of more complex faults are taking longer than usual to fix.

“We apologise for any inconvenience caused and would ask your readers to bear with us whilst we work as quickly as possible to get all this work completed.”