‘If this fault had happened earlier this person could have died’ BT under fire for no-phones misery near Cromer


- Credit: PA

Telecoms giant BT has come under fire for leaving residents in a Norfolk seaside village without phones and internet access for what is now six days.

The East Runton village sign.

The East Runton village sign. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

A spokesman said they hoped to restore services today, January 2, - but could not be certain.

Sarah Butikofer

Sarah Butikofer

Among an estimated 150 people affected by the fault, in East Runton, near Cromer, is a resident who suffered a minor stroke on Christmas Day.

Norman Lamb MP.

Norman Lamb MP. - Credit: Polly Hancock

A concerned friend, who asked not to be identified, said the stroke victim had managed to crawl to the phone and summon an ambulance.

They had returned home from hospital on Boxing Day but the following day their phone had stopped working, along with scores of others in the village.

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'If this fault had happened earlier this person could have died,' said the friend.

'There could be a recurrence of symptoms. This person is vulnerable and needs their phone to get help quickly.'

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BT engineers had rigged up three emergency lines on Saturday for at-risk villagers, including the stroke victim, but others were still waiting.

'It simply isn't good enough,' said the friend. 'This isn't a third world country. It's shocking and appalling. They should have a full shift working all year round.'

Sarah Butikofer, North Norfolk District Council member for the area, said she and North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb had been pursuing BT for several days.

'I'm very concerned because there are a number of elderly and disabled residents affected and, if they have mobile phones, signal coverage is not good either,' she added.

A BT engineer had told her 150 properties were affected and Mrs Butikofer said she knew phones were off in Brick Lane, Broom Hill, as well as half of Top Common and Lower Common.

Mr Lamb said he was extremely concerned that the problem was taking BT so long to sort out and he would be talking to the company this week.

A BT spokesman blamed a damaged section of underground cabling for the problem and said they had received 47 reports of faults. Engineers had been working to clear blockages in sections of ducting, as well as rebuilding a footway box.

He added yesterday: 'We have been doing all we can to get all this work completed as quickly as possible. We are hoping, as long as work progresses well, for services to be restored to all during tomorrow (ie Monday, January 2), but we can't be certain at this stage. We are sorry for any inconvenience caused whilst this is being worked on.'

Have you been affected? Contact nnn.news@archant.co.uk

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