BT branded ‘a joke’ by angry Watton residents

Openreach engineers work near Lovell Gardens, in Watton.

Openreach engineers work near Lovell Gardens, in Watton. - Credit: Archant

Frustrated residents have branded BT's service 'a joke' and 'ridiculous' as they face another week without internet or phone services while engineering works continue on their estate.

Around 250 households in Lovell Gardens, Norwich Road, Tedder Close and Watton Green have lost their phone lines or internet service since the end of February due to engineering work by Openreach, a BT subsidiary. The already complex job was further delayed after a cable was cut through.

The situation has hampered people's jobs and home lives, and now those affected face jumping through further hoops to get compensation.

Paul Uglow, of Tedder Close, is among 170 households who have not had their service reconnected. He said: 'The fact that no one from BT has contacted us to give us an update is ridiculous.'

Debra Tigue, of Lovell Gardens, had her service reconnected on March 26 but has only been offered £23 compensation from her provider, Talk Talk.

During her time without her service she was unable to work from home, and described trying to contact BT as 'a joke'.

Jennifer Baker, of Norwich Road, was without her service for a month. She works from home as a teacher and has been unable to access Skype or necessary online resources.

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Ms Baker said she was 'frustrated' as those affected had been given 'no information'.

Tracey Cini-Butler, of Wayne Butler Motor Services in Watton, said her business struggled after losing its internet service between March 7 and 29.

During the period she was unable to take payments by card and said the customer service from BT was 'nonexistent'.

Long distance lorry driver Ian Francis lost his phone service on March 7, meaning his wife was unable to contact him he was on the road during the week.

He had previously said of BT: 'They are treating us with absolute disdain. They are not giving us any proper information. Meanwhile here we are, paying our bills.'

Following complaints from residents, George Freeman MP appealed to BT to accelerate the repairs. A spokesman for Mr Freeman said he would be willing to help people seek compensation from their service providers.

A BT spokesman claimed on Monday that all faults reported had been reconnected.

He said: 'This has proved to be an extremely difficult, complex and time-consuming job to get all services restored. Engineers have been onsite, and working extended hours to do all we can to get this work completed.

'All faults reported to Openreach have now been reconnected, and final checks are being carried out. If anyone is still experiencing problems it is important that they report to their service provider so that it can be investigated. We are sorry to those affected for the length of time this has taken.'

BT has previously said people affected should check with their service provider in matters relating to charges.

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