Villagers without phone lines in Stedham and Graffham

Jane Fortin from Hooksway who cannot use her phone.Picture by Kate Shemilt.C131559-5
Jane Fortin from Hooksway who cannot use her phone.Picture by Kate Shemilt.C131559-5
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VILLAGERS have criticised communication companies for leaving them without telephone lines nearly four weeks after St Jude’s storm terrorised the country.

The wind and rain that lashed the area left some people without access to phones or the Internet.

Sam Ford lives in a small valley in Stedham, consisting of just five properties, all of which were affected when the storm hit on October 28, causing a tree to topple over and cut a phone line in half.

Mr Ford said: “We reported the issue to BT immediately.

“Obviously, we understand that in the wake of the storm they must have been incredibly busy but three weeks passed and nothing had happened.

“One engineer came out to us and said he was unable to fix the line.”

The line was repaired on Monday (November 18), but some residents have said they were left without phones and internet access for too long.

“I am disappointed with the poor service,” said Mr Ford.

“There is just a total lack of communication and it has been time consuming and frustrating.

“Energy companies must be very transparent when there are problems – why can there not be more transparency when dealing with customers?

“From the many conversations with the BT call centre and subsequently the engineers sent to repair the fault, I can only conclude that BT is a worryingly dysfunctional ‘organisation’ who seem intent on telling their customers any story they can concoct, except the truth!”

A spokesman for BT said: “One telegraph pole has been replaced and two spans of aerial cable have been replaced that were affecting a handful of people in the Stedham area.

“All work was completed on November 18.

“Lines have been tested and service has been restored.”

In Graffham, another villager has blasted Vodafone for failing to repair a phone mast.

Mr Peta said: “Our mast has been out of order for six weeks, this happened before the storm.

“We have been given no information, it seems impossible to get an answer out of Vodafone.

“I have no phone and go to my daughter’s house to use my laptop.”

A spokesman for Vodafone told the Observer: “We’re sorry some of our customers in the Graffham area have been having problems with the signal lately.

“We are aware of the problem but the solution is complex.

“We have had to wait until weather conditions were stable enough to allow our engineers to climb the mast safely to remove the transmission dish and we also have a problem with cabling to the site which has been damaged by rodents.

“Our engineers are working hard to get the site up and running as soon as possible.”