A community which was beset with phone and broadband problems throughout the past year are frustrated at being ‘cut off’ from the outside world yet again.
Villagers in Ashton Hayes have experienced broken phone lines and a lack of internet connection on several occasions since last July, causing a knock-on-effect to the entire community by leaving businesses unable to operate properly, students struggling to complete assignments and pensioners frightened because their emergency panic buttons didn’t work.
The problem, apparently caused by a broken cable, appeared to have been resolved just before Christmas last year.
Residents though say they’re now experiencing ‘significant’ problems with their access to broadband, which is causing ‘extreme disruption’ to their everyday lives.
One resident told The Chronicle: “BT is our service provider and from last Wednesday, our broadband has been down more than it has been working. We were away at the weekend, but when we returned, we had no service for much of Tuesday.
“Since then the service seems to have stabilised, without the same outages. Two of us work from home so you can imagine it has been extremely disruptive to our business, not just an inconvenience.”
He added: “The problem has not been a slow down in speed, but an on/off situation. It also seems to have affected our BT You View service, which asked us to retune our box yesterday. Our phone line that is broadband enabled has been unaffected.”
Around a dozen villagers have reported problems with broadband access and performance, complaining that it often takes hours to get a connection at all, with some being told that the end of May will be the earliest date they will see a resolution to the problem.
Another affected resident said: “We have in the past been effectively cut off as a village from communications systems including the telephone and broadband for several months at a time and you can imagine the risks and consequences of this scenario for individuals, school and small businesses.
“This time the problems seem to be confined to access to broadband and the internet but yet again we are finding BT difficult to deal with in that they give those reporting faults or registering a complaint information that is sometimes inconsistent and there is a complete absence of any meaningful and proactive communication by them with ourselves as a community.
“We have asked for such communication several times over the last couple of years we have been experiencing major problems with the service but there has been no attempt it seems by BT to act on this.”
When The Chronicle contacted BT for a comment, a spokesman for Openreach, the local business network, said: “A number of faults affecting broadband lines have been reported to the companies that provide broadband to people and businesses in Ashton Hayes.
“Each complaint is being individually attended to and we are investigating to find out which faults need to be addressed by the broadband companies and whether it is a more general network fault that needs to be fixed by Openreach – the business that puts in and maintains the cables that the broadband providers use.
“Ashton Hayes, in the past six months, has been affected by two other difficulties and we are sorry that they are now having to cope with further problems. We are working closely with the broadband providers to get the Ashton Hayes services back up and running as soon as possible.”