Mass Internet and phone-line crash sparks fury in Edwinstowe
Furious villagers in Edwinstowe have been up in arms after being plagued by Internet issues and phone-connection problems for several weeks.
More than 100 residents, including the elderly and the vulnerable, have been without broadband or a phone-line, and many businesses have also been affected.
"At a time when people are working from home, it has been completely unacceptable,” blasted one resident, Michael Lyons.
"My wife works from home in the NHS and supports its IT infrastructure. But she has not been able to connect because of increasing network issues.
"During lockdown, we all rely on the Internet more than ever. But this situation just got worse and worse. It has been terrible.
"I was without a phone-line for several days, and although the Internet worked intermittently, it was about one-quarter of the speed it should be.”
The cause of the crash crisis has been a need to relocate a green supply box on Rufford Road that contains broadband and phone connections.
A spokesperson for Open Reach, the UK’s digital network business, explained: “Nottinghamshire County Council requested that we move the box or cabinet because it was next to a bus stop and there were issues with people getting on and off the bus. Therefore, we moved it to Boy Lane across the road and round the corner.
"However, moving a cabinet is a very complicated task. There can be a knock-on impact and residual faults, which is what happened in this case.”
Coun Scott Carlton, of Newark and Sherwood District Council and Edwinstowe Parish Council, has had to field dozens of complaints and concerns from villagers.
Coun Carlton said: “Numerous households have been without the Internet and/or a working phone-line.
"I am concerned that many require these to work from home at this time, and also that vulnerable residents need to maintain contact with friends and loved ones.
"Others might be shielding or isolating and rely on these forms of communication to place prescription orders or do their shopping.”
Coun Carlton said he felt he had to intervene because of the volume of e-mails and calls he received, alongside a swathe of comments posted on Facebook.
He praised Open Reach for its quick response, but felt that answers were still needed.
"One man has been without his landline for about two weeks,” said Coun Carlton. “And adding to the annoyance factor is that elderly residents who may live alone and don’t have the Internet or a mobile phone, are dependent on landlines.
"Other people are running businesses from home during the lockdown restrictions, but have been unable to do that.
"One person said he almost lost his job because he couldn’t log on to give an online presentation that might have attracted investment for his company.
"A few people are even thinking of putting in claims for compensation.”
Open Reach has now apologised and issued this statement: “We are very sorry for the loss of phone and broadband services at a time when being connected has never been more important.
"During complex work to move a street cabinet to a new location, some services were lost and engineers have been working tirelessly to complete the work.
"Services are now starting to be restored, and engineers will get everyone back up and running as quickly as possible.”