Frustration grows for Watton residents after weeks without phone or internet service

Babes in the wood....Watton's town sign on the High street.Photographer: Graham CorneyCopy: Ian Cla

Babes in the wood....Watton's town sign on the High street.Photographer: Graham CorneyCopy: Ian Clarke© EDP pics 2004 Tel: 01603 772434Contact: - Credit: Archant Ltd.

Frustrated residents are still waiting for their phone lines and internet connections to be restored more than three weeks after their service was cut off.

Households in Lovell Gardens and Watton Green, in Watton, lost their service after Openreach began carrying out engineering works at the entrance to the Lovell Gardens estate four weeks ago.

However, the work was set back after engineers accidentally cut through a cable.

After reassurances that the lines would be reconnected as soon as possible, some residents are still without phone lines and internet access and are becoming increasingly irritated.

Tina Kiddell, of Watton Green, has been without a phone or internet service since the end of February. She estimated more than 200 houses could be in the same position.

'It's a catastrophic debacle. The problem with the cable has had far-reaching effects,' she said.

Since losing their service, Ms Kiddell said her children had been unable to do their online homework and had consequently got into trouble at school.

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Her father, who lives with her, called BT to ask if his monthly bill of £80 could be suspended due to the lack of service, but was told he would still have to pay.

'It's absolutely mental,' Ms Kiddell said.

Sarah Mold, of Norwich Road, lost her service on March 7. Her internet has been restored, but she is still without a phone.

She said her work has been affected by the disruption, as she occasionally works from home.

'It is not fair to leave people with nothing for that length of time and for there to be no sense of urgency about it,' she said.

Christopher Harris, of Lovell Gardens, said: 'It is not acceptable, especially considering it is a service everyone is paying for.

'What if there is an accident and no one can use a phone? It has the potential to be very serious, and it is certainly very annoying.'

Both Mr Harris and Ms Mold said there had been no warning from BT that there could be disruption to services.

A BT spokesman said the work in Watton had proved to be a 'very complex repair' and engineering work was 'still ongoing'.

He said: 'There are 90 lines still to repair and we are doing all we can to get this done as quickly as possible.

'We would of course wish to apologise for any inconvenience caused during this period.

'For matters relating to charging people affected should check with their service provider.'

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