400 Ettrick phone lines get cut off

No mobile phone signal in the Ettrick Valley.
No mobile phone signal in the Ettrick Valley.

ROADWORKS are needed as part of a major repair operation after 400 telephone landlines were affected when a cable serving the Ettrick Valley exchange was accidentally damaged.

Around lunchtime last Thursday all households served by the exchange found they could not phone a number outwith the valley – and many were unable to do so for almost 24 hours.

According to valley resident Ogilvie Jackson from Cossarshill, the problem was caused after an agricultural contractor sliced through the cable that serves the exchange, which is located at Newburgh.

And with the almost non-existent mobile phone coverage in the valley, there were fears that anyone needing to contact the emergency services would have been unable to do so.

A BT spokesperson told The Wee Paper this week: “I can confirm the damage to the cable was caused by a third party, resulting in loss of telephone and broadband services in the Ettrick Valley exchange area. Around 400 lines were affected. Engineers worked through the night to carry out a temporary repair using 30 metres of cable, and restored services by 2am the following morning.

“Permanent repairs are a much bigger task, with around 1,350 metres of underground cabling needed. Roadworks will be necessary and we need to secure the relevant statutory permissions. All services should be fully restored, but if anyone is still having any difficulties they should contact their service provider who will liaise with Openreach on their behalf, and can help with practical measures, such as line diverts.”

Mr Jackson said phone companies were only alerted to last week’s problem after a neighbouring farmer drove to the Yarrow Valley, which has mobile coverage, and called in the problem. “If the weather had been as bad as just a few days previously and there had been an emergency, then we could have had a tragedy on our hands because there would be no way of getting word through.”