Skinners open for business despite phone outage

BT has announced the latest locations set to benefit from fibre optic high-speed broadband. BT has announced the latest locations set to benefit from fibre optic high-speed broadband.

Friday, March 14, 2014
3:00 PM

One of Sidmouth’s oldest companies has criticsed BT’s communication skills after waiting a month for the firm to restore a vital phone connection.

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The telegraph pole linking Skinners Construction with the outside world went down on February 14, leaving bosses with ‘no idea’ how many calls they have missed, writes Stephen Sumner.

They have dropped from six phone lines to one, have had to redirect calls to a mobile and set up a temporary email address.

“It’s been ongoing for such a long time – it’s taking far too long,” said receptionist Ann-Marie Hedges, who said BT has been uncommunicative.

“We just have no idea how much business we are losing.

“We would ask that clients bear with us during this difficult time and assure them that we are endeavouring to provide business as usual.”

The telegraph pole did not come down in the storm that left a tree blocking Station Road but it had either fallen or been taken down when the staff arrived the next morning.

The repair is scheduled to start on Thursday but it has already been delayed twice.

“BT said Open Reach engineers have to spend all their time sorting the devastation across the South West so they aren’t taking calls from customers,” said Ann-Marie.

“As a business we think they could be a bit more proactive.”

She said the telegraph pole had rotted through, but there had been no message from BT explaining why the lines were down or when they would be fixed.

The company can still be contacted on the same phone numbers and be emailed via skinnersconstruction@outlook.com.

A BT spokesman apologised for delays and said a fallen tree had done ‘serious damage’. He added: “It is a complex repair involving the replacement of about 150 metres of overhead cable and a pole.

“Specialist equipment is needed. We currently expect to carry out the work on March 20, but will do it earlier if possible.”

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