Wenhaston: BT apology as connection collapse repair delayed

Mr Derek Newby who lives in Wenhaston has been unable to use his phone for two weeks.

Mr Derek Newby who lives in Wenhaston has been unable to use his phone for two weeks. - Credit: Archant

A GROUP of Suffolk villagers are demanding a full explanation and personal apologies from phone company BT for delayed repairs to a connection fault.

Engineers yesterday began work at two sites in Wenhaston, near Halesworth, to replace 130 metres of underground cabling following lengthy connection problems.

One villager, Derek Newby, 88, who suffers from heart disease and angina, has been without his telephone and broadband service for two weeks and was initially told the problem could continue until May.

The retired builder has been relying on a relative and neighbours to help him contact people and attempt to finally resolve the problem.

Liz Hill, who has also lost telephone and broadband services, said that BT had confirmed a fault affecting several neighbours on March 9, when she was told repairs would involve digging up the road - work for which BT needed to seek approval.

Mrs Hill, who has kept a detailed 11-page record of every exchange with BT, was informed that engineers would begin work to replace 130 metres of underground cabling on Monday.

But despite equipment being brought into the village, work did not begin until yesterday.

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BT has apologised and said the work had been delayed due to blockages in the underground cable route, but that customers should be back online by this afternoon.

Currently able to communicate only by using a mobile phone in the middle of the street, Mrs Hill said: “The engineers came on Monday but nothing happened. On Wednesday they turned up for 15 minutes and disappeared.

“It’s hard to tell exactly how many people have been affected but more and more have come forward.

“With no way of communicating, some elderly people have been put at risk. We want BT to explain themselves.”

Last week, Ros Curteis, who has been without a landline for more than a fortnight, said she had been given no idea as to how long the problem might persist, while another resident reported her phone line being down for the last two months.

A BT spokesman said: “We would again like to apologise for the extended nature of this repair.

“Engineers attended earlier this week but found blockages in the underground cable route which have had to be cleared before we can carry out the repairs.

“Engineers have been working on putting the new cabling today and we will be working on connecting this cable this evening.

“We are aiming for full restoration and everyone back into service by the end of tomorrow morning.”