Hundreds still without phones

BT engineers are continuing to work around the clock today to restore landline telephones to residents in East Bergholt - more than four days after a fire damaged the village's phone exchange.

BT engineers are continuing to work around the clock today to restore landline telephones to residents in East Bergholt - more than four days after a fire damaged the village's phone exchange.

Hundreds of residents were still without landline phones today despite teams of engineers being brought in from throughout East Anglia and as far away as London and Reading.

About 300 of the 1,300 customers affected by the damage to the telephone exchange in Gaston Road were still without phones today after the fire spread from a BT van to the single-storey building.

BT spokesman Paul Hayward said: “BT has been working around the clock to restore telephone services since this incident happened.


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“We have had around 50 engineers working in rotas to manually reconnect customers' individual telephone lines to the mobile exchange that has been brought onto the site.

“This has been a massive undertaking in very difficult conditions.

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“We will continue to work 24 hours a day until all customers are re-connected.”

Police are investigating the cause of the fire, which broke out at about 9pm on Friday. After it spread to the nearby exchange communications equipment was damaged and residents from throughout the village lost their landline connections.

That forced the local pub to allow customers to leave without paying as credit card transaction machines were not working and other business to serve customers and trust them to pay at a later date.

BT brought in a mobile exchange but engineers were forced to tackle the painstaking task of manually connect the village's phone lines to the new equipment.

The damage is so severe to the telephone exchange the mobile equipment will have to be used until it is repaired - a process that could take several months.

Mr Hayward said: “The mobile exchange unit is likely to be on site for a number of months, whilst the damaged exchange is out of service.”

Weblink: www.bt.co.uk

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