Residents lose television signal

MORE than 100 residents were left frustrated after their television signal was mysteriously switched off.

Elliot Furniss

MORE than 100 residents were left frustrated after their television signal was mysteriously switched off.

The problem occurred earlier this week in Martlesham Heath on the edge of Ipswich, where hundreds of houses, built originally for BT workers, use an unusual cable system that provides them with their analogue service.

Although many residents have aerials or dishes fitted to their houses over the years in order to receive extra channels, more than 100 are thought to still use the out-dated system that feeds the signal directly into their homes.

The fault first became apparent on Monday, although Virgin Media, which operates the system, said it had occurred on Tuesday.

Retired telecoms engineer Peter Loosemore said his elderly mother-in-law was one of many residents that relied on the service and had been let down by the sudden switch-off.

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Mr Loosemore, who lives in Martlesham Heath but has an aerial for his own TV reception, said: “(She) is in her eighties and relies on the cable system for her TV reception and has now been left without service, even though Virgin are still billing her for it.

“When I heard about this I was shocked and appalled and couldn't believe a company like Virgin would treat its customers like this.

“Having talked to others on the village there is widespread anger over what Virgin have done.”

The signal was switched back on at about 2pm on Tuesday but Mr Loosemore said it had taken many frustrating phone conversations with Virgin staff to get them to acknowledge the problem.

He said it seemed like Virgin had been trying to permanently close the analogue signal earlier than scheduled, but resident power had forced the firm into a u-turn.

A Virgin Media spokesperson apologised for the temporary switch-off and attributed it to a “technical error”.

She said: “We are sorry that our analogue TV customers in the Martlesham Heath area were temporarily without their TV service earlier today.

“This was the result of a technical error which occurred during our routine analogue switch-off work, full service was restored by 2pm this afternoon.

“Negotiations are ongoing as to the future of our analogue TV service in this area, but there are no immediate plans to make any changes to the service our customers currently receive.”

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