A son who feared for the safety of his frail father who was without phone access has described the speed at which BT got to work once the press got involved as ‘miraculous’.
Clive and Linda Chaytor moved to Rules Yard, Boxford, just over eight weeks ago to be closer to their son William.
Clive, 82, suffers from heart problems and the family, in particular wife Linda, 76, had been seriously concerned after desperate pleas for BT to sort out their phone line seemed to go unanswered.
With no phone line and a nonexistent mobile signal in the village, the family feared that should Clive require emergency assistance he would be stuck helpless.
However after more than eight-weeks of waiting, BT suddenly got to work once Linda and William got in touch with the Free Press and South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge.
“It’s miraculous, suddenly an hour after they hear the press is getting involved they start calling us,” said William, 47, who owns the Coffee Box in the village.
“It’s very strange , everything seemed to get resolved when they found you‘d got involved.
“You call them and they ring up to say an engineer will be there that day.”
The lack of communication was causing stress for the whole family, with concerns it was affecting Clive’s health.
Before BT took action Linda had expressed grave concerns over what might happen.
“My husband is ill. I’m not sleeping as I’m worried there is going to be an emergency.
“There’s no mobile signal. I would have to run out in my nighty and knock on my neighbour’s door. I told BT this but we are getting nowhere. We are at our wits’ ends.”
Clive is being treated by Papworth Hospital for his condition and has to make regular trips to see specialists, making three visits last week alone.
“Can you understand how we feel? There could be an emergency at any time.
“And we have only just moved in, can you imagine not having a phone? We do everything on the internet, our banking, everything.
“If our son didn’t live 50 yards down the road I think my husband would be dead from the stress.
“They came back to us a couple of times saying there was no line but there’s been a line there as long as there has been telephones.
“It’s an utter saga. We might as well have well been in the lower regions of the Orinoco.
“We moved from Long Melford to be closer to William as we are getting older but it’s proved to be a nightmare.”
William said that engineers had even gone to the wrong address.
The family say they gave BT notice they were moving and had explained Clive’s heart condition and were put on an ‘executive complaints’ list.
On Tuesday evening a BT spokesman told the Free Press: “We have spoken to Mr Chaytor today and apologised for the delay in providing telephone to his address.
“Engineering work had to be completed before an engineer visited Mr Chaytor’s home address to install his telephone line. I am pleased to say that the line has now been successfully installed today.
“BT’s customer service department has spoken with Mr Chaytor and he has agreed our offer of three months’ free service, £62.97, plus an additional three months’ service for free, as a goodwill gesture.”
The couple are still without internet, which has been promised in the coming days, however William said he would not be surprised if this turned into eight-weeks after their previous experience.
He added: “They say they fault has now been fixed but there was no fault, it was just bad organisation.”
Boxford will also soon have a resolution to some of its mobile telephone signal problems.
South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge, who has campaigned for better signal in rural parts of the constituency, said: “For a long time Boxford has been one of the worst mobile telephone signal not-spots in South Suffolk. Unsurprisingly, the lack of mobile signal has caused lots of problems for residents when traditional communication has failed.
“As such, I am delighted that planning permission has now been granted for a new mobile telephone mast to serve the village and surrounding area. This mast should help to alleviate many of the problems that the not-spot has caused.
“I would note as this mast is owned by Telefonica rather than a Government scheme, it will provide increased signal for those residents who are on O2 and Vodafone. In the fullness of time it may be that other providers come onto the mast but I am not aware of any such plans at this time.”