Sheffield phones still cut off after two weeks

Lionel Clarke, of Outibridge, with the severed  telephones cable.
Lionel Clarke, of Outibridge, with the severed telephones cable.

HOUSEHOLDERS in Sheffield cut off after a falling tree pulled down their phone lines were told by BT’s Indian call centre the problem had been fixed – as the wires were still lying on the ground.

Frustrated residents of Coldwell Hill, Oughtibridge, remain without landline phones or internet, two weeks after the lines were destroyed during heavy snow on March 22.

And members of the nine households who live on the street say they are fed up of calling BT to ask when the problem will be fixed.

Lionel Clarke, one of the residents, said: “All of us are without phone or internet, but when we have contacted BT and been put through to an Indian call centre, they have told us the problem has been sorted.

“The cable’s still lying on the ground under the tree branch.”

Mr Clarke, who works for an export company, said the problem affects everyone on the street, because they are connected via the same line.

He said: “The frustrating thing is there is nobody at BT we can speak to locally. We are having to argue with people in India. I have called 11 times.

“People need the phone line for their computers to work – there are families and people who work from home and need to access emails.

“I’ve had to go and buy a dongle to connect via my mobile phone.”

Neighbour Manuel Pardavila, a financial services worker who lives with wife Joanne and their three children, said: “It’s the Easter holidays and any parent these days would go crazy with three children and no internet.

“Our older boys, who are 14 and 16, use the internet to revise for exams, and are having to go to visit parents-in-law in Worrall.

“I have elderly parents in Spain and like to contact them via Skype, so I can see their faces, but I am having to call them by mobile phone, which is more expensive and not the same.

“It is so frustrating - the amount of time I have spent talking to so many people at BT who have been so unhelpful. We still don’t know when it will be fixed.”

Mr Pardavila added that residents are also unhappy about the safety of the cable lying on the ground.

Angela Smith, Labour MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge, said: “This is clearly an unacceptable situation in this day and age when people rely on such connections for their families and for employment.”

BT has apologised for the delay and said repairs were due to take place on Monday.

A BT spokesman said: “This job has been delayed due to resource problems, as it requires two overhead cabling engineers and a hoist to complete the work.

“It is programmed in for Monday, when service should be restored.

“We’d like to apologise for the delay in repairing the damage.”