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Villagers' anger at BT for being cut off

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: March 05, 2014

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ANGRY residents in Porthcothan have hit out at BT after homes in the village were left without a phoneline for two weeks.

Telephone and internet connection problems have hit more than 200 households and affected local businesses, including the village shop.

The village first lost all telephone and broadband services on February 12, and the problem wasn't rectified until 13 days later.

Residents said they had heard a cable had been cut in half after it had come off a pole.

Porthcothan Bay Stores owner Bob Wyatt called the situation a "shambles".

"It's been an absolute nightmare – this situation has caused serious problems, not only to the businesses in Porthcothan like ours that rely on phone and internet communications to be able to function, but also to several elderly residents, who, due to their poor health, rely on telephone lifelines for their safety and wellbeing," Mr Wyatt said.

"We really struggled during the two weeks, because our business partly relies on the use of the telephone and internet.

"It is lucky it happened in the winter and not the summer, because then we would have had a major problem on our hands."

Mr Wyatt said the problem has been compounded by "the complete absence" of a mobile phone signal.

"It is about time our politicians and councillors start campaigning for all areas of Cornwall to have the benefit of mobile phone communications," Mr Wyatt said.

Tim Neale, who owns the Porthcothan-based company Idenna with his wife Mary, has also been affected.

"This has certainly had a negative effect on our business and how we have been able to operate," he said.

Mr Wyatt believes the biggest problem has been the lack of communication on BT's part.

"Trying to find out the reason for this failure and the expected date for reconnection has proved hugely frustrating and impossible to ascertain," he said.

"All we wanted was a sensible answer, such as what the problem was and how long it would take to fix, and then we'd have understood, but we didn't even get that."

Mr Wyatt also said the problem has highlighted a much bigger issue.

He said: "The recent gales have exposed the fragility and poor quality of the ancient and vulnerable overhead telephone cables that are supposed to serve our community.

"Despite being a major tourist area, we must at times resemble a Third World country to many holidaymakers who visit each year."

BT was unavailable for comment as the Cornish Guardian went to press.

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