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Communication breakdown in Antrobus
A VILLAGE was cut off from the modern world for a month when its phone lines went down without explanation.
Antrobus households were left without internet access and phones, leaving home businesses struggling to operate, schoolchildren unable to complete online homework assignments and families struggling to keep in touch.
Debbie Sutton, from Sutton School of Dance, was dealt a double blow as not only was her business affected, she also missed out on the excitment of her daughter Freya’s professional theatre debut in Hairspray.
“I missed Freya’s launch on Facebook because I couldn’t get on the internet and that’s something you can’t replace,” she said.
“I couldn’t see any of the write-ups about her performance or any of the pictures put online after first night.”
Some residents did not discover family members had been taken ill until phone lines were returned at the end of February and one woman only found out an operation had been cancelled when she happened to ring the hospital the day before.
Around 37 homes were affected in The Old Orchard, Knutsford Road, Manley Close, Lowe Crescent and School Lane, although the level of service differed from house to house with some residents losing both phone and internet throughout February and some losing just one.
The network as a whole is maintained by Openreach, although residents use different service providers.
Alex Dodgshon, of The Old Orchard, said: “There was a total lack of communication, not specifically from BT but all different providers trying to get information from Openreach.
“Problems happen, things break and they need fixing, we understand that, but it felt like we were being strung along and fobbed off – that’s not service and it’s not what we pay for.”
A spokesman for BT said a section of underground cable was accidentally damaged and Openreach engineers had to replace 140m of cable.
She said: “It is regrettable when we suffer any kind of damage to our network. Our priority is always to restore services to those affected as quickly as we can.
“Unfortunately, due to a combination of factors, this repair took longer than we would have wanted or expected, for which we are very sorry.
“However, engineers encountered unforeseen delays due to the location of this fault – on a busy road – and underground blockages which had to be cleared before the new cable could be fitted.
“Temporary traffic lights were required to enable the repair work to go ahead safely.”