Vodafone failure in Melton Constable causes problems for businesses

Businesses and villagers were 'seriously hacked off' after a Vodafone phone mast failure affected the Melton Constable and Briston area.

The loss of service from the mast just outside of Melton Constable started on July 3 and was fixed today (Tuesday), according to one villager.

Dr Rob Matthews, a Vodafone spokesman, said: 'We do apologise to customers locally for a loss of service in the Melton Constable area. A local mast developed a fault but because of extensive overgrowth of brambles and other debris our engineer was unable to access the cabin or the mast safely to carry out repairs. The site has been repaired and is operating normally.'

He added a contractor cleared the site on Friday and yesterday and an engineer visited the area this morning.

Vodafone customer Howard Turner, 53, from Melton Constable, runs a consultancy business designing recording studios and relies on his mobile phone.

He said: 'Without the service the area is plunged into the dark ages.'

Ivan Kendle, owner of North Norfolk Vehicle Solutions, on the Melton Constable Industrial Estate, which exports heavy duty trucks across the world, said the problem was 'horrendous'.

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He believes he may have lost thousands of pounds worth of business because of the problem.

Another business affected on the industrial estate was Structure-Flex, which produces bags for the oil industry and signs for lorries.

Jill Dawber, IT manager for the business, said the failure caused problems because staff on the factory floor communicate to the office staff through mobile phones.

She added the business had taken advantage of a Vodafone deal whereby any calls made at the site are free.

Mrs Dawber said the extra time spent by staff walking across the factory to speak with each other had lost the business money.

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