Briercliffe residents left without phones

Phone torment

Phone torment

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Angry residents and businesses in Briercliffe could be left without a phone line for up to a month.

An overhead cable in Nelson Road was severed two weeks ago but the line has still not been fixed and people living in affected homes said they have been told by BT Openreach their landlines will be out of order until the end of October. Homeowners in four affected properties have said it is ridiculous they have been left without a phone line for so long and a farm which supplies milk to homes, restaurants and nursing homes said their business has been affected.

Calls have been diverted through residents’ mobile phones but poor reception in the area has made receiving calls difficult and they are being forced to pay mobile phone rates, which are higher.

Mr Arthur Parker (86) said: “They came up to have a look at it, cut the two ends off the cable, nailed it to the tree and left it.

“We’ve tried calling Openreach but we can’t get anybody who can give us a proper tale, nobody is telling us what is happening.

“To be without a phone line for a month is ridiculous. The mobile phone reception up here isn’t the best. People have been ringing us and have been unable to get through. My wife is on dialysis and she has to be able to ring out. It’s very inconvenient. Openreach have over-reached.”

Mr Paul Balmer and his dad Brian, of B. & S. Balmer, at Lane House Farm, said many of their milk orders are left on an answering machine which they are unable to access. They have also been unable to register new cattle with DEFRA and fear it reflects badly on their business.

Mr Balmer said: “A month is far too long. You could accept a few days but this is ridiculous. It makes us look pathetic.

A spokeswoman for BT Openreach said: “It is extremely regrettable when Openreach suffers any kind of fault on its network. Our priority is always to restore services affected as quickly as possible which is what we’re doing in this case.

“Unfortunately this particular fault proved difficult to pinpoint. Specialist equipment will be required to complete the repair, which engineers are arranging to do as quickly as possible.”