BT left my elderly parents cut off from a ‘lifeline’ for two months

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My elderly parents have a fault with their BT landline, which is seemingly affecting most of their village. I reported it in August. Each time I’ve called, an automated message informs me that the fault will be repaired within a certain number of hours, ranging from two to 77. Two months on, their phone is still not working. My father is housebound and has lung cancer, and Mum is his carer. They are not good with technology and the phone is their lifeline. The only action from BT is a bill.
JA, Leicester

It turns out the Leicestershire village where your parents live was cut off from landline communications over the summer after cabling was stolen. BT tells me it was a “major service outage”, affecting “numerous” customers. The village pub confirmed it was left without service for a couple of weeks, which hit its bookings.

Your parents appear to have been the very last to have been switched back on. After I contacted BT in early October, you received a slew of texts and emails confirming the problem had been resolved. It hadn’t.

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It wasn’t until this month that the line was finally up and running. Your parents will receive automatic compensation of £8.40 for each day they were without service, payable 30 days after the fault was resolved.

Openreach, which operates the telecoms network, tells me that safety measures to protect its engineers had an impact on time scales. It says: “We’re really disappointed that people have had to bear the brunt of criminal behaviour and theft from our network. Service has since been restored to all premises.”

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