ANGRY residents are campaigning after weeks of disrupted telephone service forced a partially sighted 80-year-old woman to walk to a hospital appointment.
Over the past few months residents living in Henry Place, Newtown, have struggled to run businesses, stay in touch with their friends and family and call emergency services after faulty underground cables left them without phones or internet for days on end.
Now, after an 80-year-old pensioner was forced to walk to the Countess of Chester Hospital after being unable to call for a taxi, outraged residents have launched a petition calling on BT to immediately fix the fault and end months of misery.
But, despite residents receiving numerous text messages promising that their phone lines were a ‘priority’ and would be quickly fixed, BT has confirmed the faulty cable joint is ‘too close’ to a sewer to be easily fixed.
After almost six weeks of being without his phone line and email service, taxi driver and landlord Bob Gilogly has set up the petition after the lack of service saw him rake up large mobile phone bills and struggle to keep in touch with tenants.
“This has been going on for around 18 months,” said Mr Gilogly, who has been in touch with the Chester District Housing Trust and Cheshire West and Chester councillor Cllr Sam Dixon, but they have been unable to spur BT into action.
“All the tenants and residents are sick of it.
“We have had workmen here doing minor repairs but all they seem to be doing is patching over the real problem which is the underground cables, which need a total overhaul.”
Mr Gilogly slated the company as a ‘faceless bureaucracy’, saying whenever he called BT he was faced with foreign call centres and he never seemed to get any help.
“It all comes down to BT, they need to fix the underground cables or this is going to keep going on,” he added.
“A lot of the residents are elderly here and don’t own a mobile. What if something happened and they needed an ambulance, they won’t be able to contact anyone and it could be a life or death situation?”
A spokesman for BT apologised for the inconvenience and confirmed the problem was being caused by damage to an underground cable joint.
He said: “We have been unable to carry out the necessary repairs due to the close proximity of the joint to a sewer (and human waste), because of the potential serious health hazard to our engineers.
“We have now devised an alternative technical solution, which involves re-routing the affected services nearby, and we will complete the work as soon as possible.”