Wenhaston: BT ordeal continues for ‘disgusted’ villagers

88 year-old Derek Newby is one of several residents of Wenhaston to have been cut off

88 year-old Derek Newby is one of several residents of Wenhaston to have been cut off - Credit: Archant

CONTINUAL delays in the reconnection of phone and internet services to a Suffolk village have been branded “disgusting”.

Residents of Wenhaston, near Halesworth, are demanding a face-to-face meeting with BT bosses after the company failed to follow through on commitments given to customers affected by a severe cable fault.

A number of homeowners have been successfully reconnected since the intermittent loss of services across the village - but some remain off-line and “in the dark” about when their turn will come.

It has now been a month since Liz Hill lost telephone and broadband connections, which also stopped working for 88-year-old neighbour Derek Newby, who suffers from health problems and relies on the services as a means of communication.

Mrs Hill has called a meeting at the village hall from 7pm tomorrow to discuss the ongoing problems, which BT blames on a fault in the 130 metre stretch of cable running underneath the roads. She said: “This is being strung out longer and longer. No one is telling us why progress is being held up.”

Patricia Allen’s line went down on the same day engineers first attempted to fix the problem on March 21. She added: “Our phone was fine until they started work on the road.

“We’ve had no apology or explanation - it’s disgusting.”

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BT blamed blockages in the cable for repeated hold-ups since first diagnosing the problem. Following two failed attempts at clearing the obstructions, the company resolved to carry out a full survey of the underground cable network.

Mrs Hill claims to have seen no evidence of a survey and has been told not to expect an update from BT until next Thursday.

Another resident, who has now been reconnected and did not want to be identified, said he was offered £12.19 in way of compensation for the loss of service.

BT has again apologised for the delays, saying that engineers replaced the damaged section of cabling but found the lines were still faulty. Further tests uncovered a need for more work due to “previously undetectable” faulty sections of cabling.

A spokesman said: “This is an extremely difficult and time-consuming repair, much of which has had to have been carried out in conjunction with road closures. It has involved a great deal of additional engineering work, which could not have been foreseen when this repair was started.

“The extensive excavation and replacement of damaged cables has now been completed. We now have a final six residual faults left to clear and are again doing all we can to clear these as quickly as possible.”  

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