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Cut off for three weeks
10:48am Friday 1st March 2013 in News
NORTH Houghton residents are furious after being left without vital internet connections for three weeks.
One of them is former Hampshire County Council deputy leader, Michael Woodhall, who lives at The Granary, off Houghton Road.
Mr Woodhall claims his property business, which he runs from home, has suffered as a result.
The 73-year-old is demanding to know why it has taken so long for BT to sort out the problem and plans to seek compensation from the telecoms giant.
He said a contractor cutting hedges in the area severed cables on February 7, leaving his and two other properties nearby without phones and broadband.
Phone services were restored last week, but broadband connections are still down.
Explaining that BT engineers had been out to look at the fault five times, Mr Woodhall said: “Reassurances were made by BT that the fault would be rectified within a few days. Not only do the incoming lines serve three domestic properties, there are also two business lines affected including an elderly person’s emergency panic button.”
Mr Woodhall said: “My business has been severely affected by the incompetence and lack of urgency displayed by BT, as it has been not possible to make and receive all electronic communications and faxes.”
He is planning to withhold at least 50 per cent of his next phone bill and he’s urging others to do the same.
“Despite numerous conversations, often with delightful ladies on the helpline in Bangalore, it took two weeks to partially reconnect subscribers. One resident’s business line still remains unconnected,” said an angry Mr Woodhall.
“This incident has highlighted the total incompetence at management level in the ability of BT to deal with an incident such as this.”
Another resident who was still waiting on Wednesday for broadband services to be reconnected to her home was Mrs Sally Salz.
“We’ve been without broadband for three weeks now. BT has been very inefficient. You talk to loads of people in India to try and get it sorted out, but get nowhere. Why can’t BT have a local contact centre so you can speak to someone who knows the area and what you are talking about,” said Mrs Salz.
She said her husband, Anthony, who does a lot of business on the internet, had been forced to drive into Stockbridge to use the Wi-Fi connection in a cafe.
Forty-eight hours after the Advertiser contacted BT, their spokesman said: “We have been to the site to investigate and plan repairs. These poles are not safe to climb and we are due back on site today (Thursday) to replace two poles and 60 metres of overhead cable. We hope to have restored services during tomorrow (Friday).”