Cable fault hits 5,000 phone lines

More than 5,000 phone lines went down in north Suffolk today, causing problems for local businesses.

More than 5,000 phone lines went down in north Suffolk today, causing problems for local businesses.

A cable fault in the Halesworth telephone exchange developed just before 9am and put 5,500 lines out of service for most of the day. Engineers are working to fix the final 550 still out of action. The problem affected the whole town and the nearby villages of Linstead and Ubbeston. There were also problems with Vodafone mobiles.

Alex Carr, owner of the Wine Shop in the market place, said: “It's very inconvenient and it highlights how with modern technology today, if something goes wrong then the whole world stops.”

Charles Mitchell, from Goddards estate agents, said it was a “nightmare”.

Mr Mitchell said: “We can't sell houses. It's so frustrating and we'll get so many angry clients but we can't inform people what's happened.”

He said Friday was a popular time for prospective buyers to book viewings for the weekend, but that the calls were not coming through.

Most Read

Ross Chapman, business manager at Barclays Bank, said: “I've had to go to Harleston to do some phone calls because the phones have all been out and the Vodafone line has been down as well.”

The problem also affected Suffolk police's eastern area headquarters. Callers were still able to dial in but anyone calling a direct line found themselves diverted to the switchboard. Police spokesman Anne-Marie Breach said: “We have managed quite well under the circumstances because we have managed to use mobiles and so on. Fortunately all incoming calls got diverted to our switchboard so that did not cause a major problem for us.”

A BT spokesman said: “We would wish to apologise for any inconvenience this cause caused. Our engineers remain on site working to restore the remaining lines still left without service. We are hoping to get service back to everyone this evening.”

He said he thought the problem had not lasted long enough for compensation to be payable, but that customers should check their contracts.

A spokesman from Vodafone apologised for any inconvenience caused. She said: “We are aware of the problem, an engineer has been sent down and we are hoping to resolve it as soon as possible.”