West Hill firms hit by loss of internet and phones after pole crash

The telegraph pole snapped in the collision.

The telegraph pole snapped in the collision. - Credit: Archant

A West Hill businesswoman voiced her frustration after her family’s firms were left without phone lines and internet for nearly a week – after they were taken out when a car crashed into a telegraph pole.

An accident on the B1380 left the Lane family businesses unable to operate.

An accident on the B1380 left the Lane family businesses unable to operate. - Credit: Archant

Kirsty Lane, 35, discovered a vehicle ‘embedded’ in a hedge and fence on the B3180 Exmouth Road last Saturday morning, January 21.

Kirsty’s family run four businesses, under the umbrella of XL Horticulture Ltd, on a site off the road - and a snapped telegraph pole is costing them money and has left them struggling to carry out work.

She contacted BT in the hope the damage would be rerpaired, but was told it was a ‘low priority’.

BT told the Herald that a new pole and cabling was due to be installed today (Monday).

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Kirsty said last week: “It’s very difficult. We are trying to run several businesses and you do not realise how much you rely on the internet and telephone until you haven’t got them.

“It’s not even as if I can sit in the house and work. I cannot go to a Costa, it’s got to be a secure network. I’m self employed; if I cannot work, I do not get paid - it’s as simple as that.

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“It will be more than week without service. Having to try and run all these businesses, we will have lost a lot of money. Customers still need to phone us about orders.”

She added that she was worried the work will not be carried out in time for her to carry out her tax return, which could result in a fine from HMRC.

Following the incident, Kirsty has called on East Devon MP Sir Hugo Swire to push for better broadband connection for rural businesses.

She said: “It would be nice to get some better 3G or 4G in the area. The 3G and 4G is shocking.”

A BT spokesman said last week: “Unfortunately, a pole and overhead cabling was badly damaged in a road accident. We took immediate action to make the area safe and now need to bring in specialist equipment to carry out a substantial amount of repair work, including the installation of a new pole and new cabling.”

Update - Monday, January 30: BT engineers carried out work yesterday (Sunday) to replace the pole and cabling and the firms have been reconnected. Read the update here.

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