A rural community claims it is being cut off from the outside world after being without a working phone line for more than a month.
Exasperated Ashton Hayes residents say they’re at their wits end after a broken cable has left them without a phone connection since the beginning of June, with some shop workers unable to even operate their businesses properly.
The disruption means Helen Rimmer who works at the Post Office in Ashton Hayes’ village shop, has been unable to issue the elderly with their pensions or lottery tickets to customers.
She told The Chronicle: “It is extremely frustrating.
“I have got no lottery terminal and my phone is off which means I can’t use the paystation that is used for gas and electricity key charges.
“Other things work incredibly slowly – it takes about 20 minutes for me to do one thing, although some days things are better – it’s just touch and go really.”
“All BT can say is that they’re doing all they can and need to replace damaged cables but you get different things from everyone you talk to.
“It’s making life very difficult for me at the moment because we are the only shop in the village; we have no public transport so if I can’t give elderly people their pension they can’t shop for food and supplies – it’s having a massive knock-on effect.”
Resident Ann Toft, 77, added: “Evidently about 75% of the village is affected. I do everything through BT including home banking, and pay for everything in advance so this shouldn’t be happening.
“This is a very serious situation – the phone line just comes on and goes off.
“I use the phone a lot, and I rely on it for speaking to my daughter who lives in Australia but she can’t get through to me the landline now – it just goes straight to voicemail.
“I’ve been having to use my mobile for calls which means I’ve spent about £50 more than usual – it’s costing me a fortune and you can’t always even get a signal, but my problems are insignificant compared to some elderly people who haven’t been able to get in touch with their families because of this, causing a lot of worry.
“I’ve lived in Ashton Hayes since 1961 and never known anything like this.”
However, a BT spokesperson said the problem was being handled and told The Chronicle: “The serious disruption in Ashton Hayes is the result of damage to a main cable.
“We are working hard to fix this problem and we understand the considerable difficulties people in Ashton Hayes are experiencing.
“ We will be calling on the expertise of our top faults team of engineers in an effort to bring these lines back into service.
“Cabling damage of this sort is regrettable but we hope people will understand that we are doing our best to restore their service.”