Villagers 'cut off' as broadband and landlines down for more than a week

Magdalen internet

Villagers have been without landlines and broadband for more than a week, after a vehicle collided with a BT box in Magdalen - Credit: Chris Bishop

Two hundred villagers have spent more than a week with no broadband, while engineers wait for the go-ahead to dig a hole to fix it.

A vehicle collided with the main BT box in Magdalen, near King's Lynn on May 6. The cabinet was knocked off its mounting and cables damaged by the impact.

A gas main runs through the village and Openreach has been waiting for permission to dig down near it to fix the damaged cables. On Friday afternoon, it said it hoped to carry out the repairs the following day.

Magdalen internet

Cables which were damaged after a vehicle collided with the BT box in Magdalen, cutting off landlines and broadband - Credit: Chris Bishop

Green energy consultant Kevin Holland, who lives nearby, said: "The internet lines are down and other than a very poor mobile data service, villagers feel cut off and let down by Openreach.

"After a year of being told to stay at home, book online, make appointments online, shop and order supplies online, work from home and do business from home, the villagers feel totally cast adrift by the lack of action."

Mr Holland has had to close down online operations for his business The Solar Shed.

He said: 'It's quicker to wait for the tide to change and send a message in a bottle in the river and than send an email at present. The internet needs to be treated like gas, water and electricity.  When it goes down, it needs a faster response."

Magdalen internet

Engineers have been waiting for permission to dig near a gas main to repair the connection - Credit: Chris Bishop

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Villager Richard Bang is the chief technology officer of London-based video game developer FITXR. He said: "I've got 70-odd people who I need to be in contact with but most of the time but I've got no internet."

Linda Painter, 71, who lives near the box, said: "We've got no landline, no house phone, just a pay-as-you-go mobile." She added her husband David, 73, had had a heart operation last year and might need access to a phone.

Magdalen internet

Openreach said it hoped to replace the damaged cabinet and restore phone and broadband connections to Magdalen by Saturday evening - Credit: Chris Bishop

A spokesman for Openreach said: "We’ve now got permission to start work after needing to wait for permission due to nearby gas pipes. We will be carrying out this complex repair  on Saturday.

"We’ve got to completely remove the damaged cabinet, possibly install a new base, install a new cabinet and then replace all of the nearby cables.

“This work would typically take a couple of days, but we fully understand how disruptive this continues to be, so we’re going to do everything we possibly can to get phone and broadband services restored by Saturday evening."