Mountfield lose BT connection for nine days

Peter Miles and Jim Ray (Vice Chairman of Mountfied Parish Council) pictured on the A2100. In the background, engineering works are going on to restore phone and internet connections to the village. SUS-150807-134809001
Peter Miles and Jim Ray (Vice Chairman of Mountfied Parish Council) pictured on the A2100. In the background, engineering works are going on to restore phone and internet connections to the village. SUS-150807-134809001

Residents and businesses in Mountfield were without internet and phone connection for over a week after a BT cable came down on Tuesday, June 30.

The cables were accidently pulled down by a lorry last week on London Road and BT started repair works on Wednesday and were completed on Thursday.

Parish councillors and desperate residents have been lobbying BT to fix the cables but have been met with excuses and lies.

Properties on Eatenden Lane, Solomon’s Lane and a some of Hoath Hill were unable to call or go online for nine days.

Chairman of Mountfield Parish Council Peter Miles described the situation as scandalous and an ‘absolute disgrace’.

“Half the centre of the village — including businesses, elderly, and vulnerable — will have been completely cut off from phone, email and internet for over nine days,” he said.

“The last time there was disruption on this scale in the village was the 1987 hurricane; this time it has been caused by BT’s complete failure to fulfil their responsibilities.”

When questioned on their lack of haste, BT claimed they were waiting for East Sussex County Council’s permission to partially close the road to fix the problem.

But the council said they have received no such request and BT could have just gone ahead anyway.

“As this involves the loss of customer service, BT could simply start this work as ‘emergency’ work and notify us once they have started,” Assistant Director of the county council Karl Taylor said.

“So it is wrong of BT to say we are holding them up.”

Parish Clerk Irene Marchant managed to get CEO of BT Gavin Patterson on the case as was Mountfield County Councillor Kathryn Field.

“I cannot understand why these residents have been left for so long without a service for which they are paying,” she said in an email to Pip Nicholls of Executive Level Complaints at BT.

“This situation is not merely an inconvenience but could have severe effects on rural business.”

Speaking later Mrs Field called it a disgraceful situation as people are trying to run businesses and their lives without phones or internet connection.

When a graphic designer, who is based at home in Mountfield, rang to complain that his business was dependent on the internet, BT told him they could prioritise him as he did not pay business rates.

A spokesperson from BT said: “The repair work is complex and time-consuming, as engineering surveys are required before the replacement of overhead cables

“Tree cutting and traffic light management is also required to carry out work safely.

“It is regrettable when Openreach suffers any accidental damage to its network.

“Our priority is always to restore services as quickly as possible which is what our engineers have done in this case and we apologise for the inconvenience caused.”

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