Hundreds of Ribble Valley homes and businesses counting cost after being left without internet connection for almost five days

The wreckage of the junction box in Billington after a car crashed into it.
The wreckage of the junction box in Billington after a car crashed into it.

Hundreds of homes and businesses have been left without internet connection for four days in a Ribble Valley village after a broadband junction box was destroyed after a car ploughed into it.

Business owners in Billington, who rely on the internet to run their companies, were counting the cost of lost revenue and several residents contacted Whalley councillor Mark Hindle concerned as they were were unable to use video calling facilities to check on elderly residents.

The destroyed broadband junction box after the accident in Billington.

The destroyed broadband junction box after the accident in Billington.

Community services for the area have also been unable to use remote monitoring for vulnerable people living in the village since the accident happened in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Coun. Hindle, who runs his own company, MH Futures, a mental health consultancy and business case preparation business, said: "I work from home several days a week and rely on WiFi to download and work on documents and also for conference calls and remote meetings.

"Without WiFi I can't work effectively, if at all, and I have already lost two days of business.

"You don't realise how much you rely on email until it is removed.

"The problem needs rectifying as soon as possible."

Billington councillor Ged Mirfin said around 400 properties had been affected.

He said: "For some being cut off from the internet means being cut off from their principle source of entertainment, for others it means they can't check their bank account or order their groceries on-line.

"For those with children the problem is particularly acute an the loss of this service has revealed the extent to which schoolchildren and those attending college rely on the internet to do their school and college work either carrying out research or submitting their work on-line through virtual learning environments."

Councillor Mirfin described the loss of the service for so long as an 'absolute disaster' for businesses due to loss of income, adding: "I have been told that a cafe in Clitheroe was packed to capacity with people on their laptops with many unable to access the network because it had reached capacity."

Power engineers attended the site of the crash in Whalley Road on Saturday morning to make the area safe. A temporary repair was put in place and it is hoped services will be restored by the end of today. Permanent repairs could take longer as the entire cabinet needs to be replaced.

A spokesman for Openreach said: “On Saturday a road traffic accident caused extensive damage to one of our broadband cabinets.

"Engineers attended the same day to make the area safe and are now working to restore service as quickly as possible.”