UPDATE: Villagers left without a phone line for nearly three weeks


Many Amberley residents – one estimate puts the number at up to 100 – were left without a phone service for 18 days.

East Street resident Mike Toynbee told the County Times that more than a dozen of the affected villagers have homes fitted with emergency alarms, which do not work without a functioning phone line.

People who use BT lines for broadband are also without internet access, while shops without a connection are unable to process card payments.

Mr Toynbee believed the fault had first appeared on September 8, and said residents had been given a range of dates for when the service would be restored.

He said that he and Church Street resident Amanda Edmead had each contacted BT - her by phone and him over the internet - only to be told that there was no record of any fault.

“It would appear that BT doesn’t have the faintest idea about what is happening or the extent of the problem,” he said.

He said he did not know exactly how many people had lost their phone connection, but it had affected properties seemingly at random across the village - one person may have no service, while their neighbour is unaffected.

The problem is made worse by the fact that mobile phone coverage in Amberley is patchy, with many mobile users unable to get a usable signal.

Ian Read of BT told the County Times: “Service in the Amberley area has been affected due to a water-damaged underground cable.

“Engineers from Openreach – who install and maintain the local network on behalf of all communications providers – are working hard on what is proving to be an unusually complex and time-consuming repair.

“Engineers are working as fast as they can to restore service as soon as possible.

“We are very sorry that the repair is taking much longer than we would normally expect and apologise for the inconvenience caused.”

UPDATE: Mr Toynbee contacted the County Times today (September 30) to say that many residents had now been reconnected.

He added: “Not everyone, it seems, had their service restored, and many people have either no, or very slow broadband.”

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