Anger as it takes BT four days to fix line

There was anger this week after 30 homes in the Southdean area were left cut off from the phone network for more than four days.

The problem was caused after a tractor, with its front loader up in the air, had apparently reversed to get out of the way of an oncoming lorry and sliced through an overhead phone cable.

This led to the phone link being severed for around 30 properties between Bonchester Bridge and Southdean.

And there was frustration that, despite the incident happening on Friday, BT only managed to start getting customers in the area reconnected by Tuesday evening.

BT Openreach does not operate at weekends and this had led to even more anger among locals.

One of the residents affected, Philip Kerr, told The Southern: “Some of the 30 properties affected are occupied by vulnerable elderly residents who, given there is little mobile phone coverage in this area, are dependent on their landline phone link.

“It is just by luck that this did not happen in the winter when the possibility of severe weather would have made this an even more serious situation. The way this has been handled has been a shambles.”

Local MSP John Lamont has now contacted BT to let them know about the anger the lack of service has caused.

Mr Lamont says in rural communities like the Borders, phone lines are vital to making sure residents can stay connected.

“What was needed was a swift response to fix the problem. I know that this has caused a huge amount of frustration in the community as once again they are having to suffer for living in a rural area,” he said.

“While BT have offered some sort of compensation, it will not make up for the days that these residents have had to face without a phone line.

“I know that some of them rely on having a connection for their jobs or community responsibilities, so this cut-off has been very troublesome.”

And Mr Lamont added: “Too often those living in rural areas lose out in situations such as these and we should not have to stand for it.”

Apologising for the problems, a spokesperson for BT confirmed to The Southern that engineers had installed new aerial cabling on Tuesday, so restoring services.

“We have carried out a series of line tests this afternoon and all seems normal.

But if anyone is still having difficulties they should contact their service provider as soon as possible,” she said.

“We plan to carry out further repairs, but these will not affect services. Police have been informed about the damage and are investigating.

“We are sorry about the inconvenience caused.”