Cut Phone Lines Update

BT have now confirmed our cable theft. Whilst I have not yet found this incident listed on any BT web site, the following report (which presumably came from BT) appears on the TalkTalk service status page at http://www.talktalk.co.uk/service-status/ as follows “16/01/2013 10:09 Openreach Copper Cable Break – Cranleigh Exchange – Some Phone and Broadband Customers are experiencing Loss of Service. Priority 3. Engineers: BT Openreach.” A New Scientist article last year reported that BT have systems to quickly detect the location of cable thefts, so it is puzzling that this information does not appear to be published on BT web sites and, even now, some service providers appear to know nothing about our problem.

The outage is likely to hit our local businesses financially, and cause worry to friends and relatives, especially because the phone seems to ring normally to any caller.

Walter has found notice of road-works on Cranleigh Road which appear to be related to the replacement of this cable. These are due to take place from today until Monday, so there may be some hope that services will be reconnected before the 28th. But presumably each line has then to be individually reconnected at each end.

I will update this web site when further information is sent to me; please send any additional details you have using our Contact form or add a comment below.

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15 Responses to Cut Phone Lines Update

  1. David Nye says:

    Mike has received the following information from Openreach:

    “The total length of cable taken was some 800 metres, all the way from the manhole by 19 down towards Cranleigh into the dip before the hill going up towards Cranleigh. Apparently all the prep work for replacement is nearly done and should be completed “by the weekend” depending on weather conditions and any snags found whilst drawing the replacement cable through. It was cut and ripped out bodily without heed for anything else in the duct so until the actual reinstallation is done, estimating any damage is difficult to do. The thieves take the cable, burn the plastic covering off and then melt the cooper before selling it on. BT is a bit of a soft target since the railways have tightened up their security so we are not the only ones to have this happen. At least they did not take any fibre as has happened in some cases (where the thieves were then disappointed when all they got was a puddle of molten glass.)”

  2. David Nye says:

    Some further details (and an astonishing number of discrepancies) in this Surrey Ad article.

  3. David Nye says:

    Now with the heavy snow as well, some may be completely cut off. If you know of anyone vulnerable, please remember to check up on them!

  4. Walter says:

    I am sure we all sympathise with BT Openreach engineers in this case as they face a quite enormous task. If only a continuous length of cable has been removed then all that has to be done is to connect probably around a thousand pairs in two new joints. However if an extended length has been stolen with intermediate joints every single pair has to be tested individually to ensure any crossed pairs are identified.

    Once your dial tone is restored could I strongly recommend that EVERYBODY (please tell your neighbours too) should dial 17070 and check their numbers. The nice BT lady should say “This line is identified as 01483……..”.

    Anyone with a protected number can use an additional prefix which I will e-mail to anybody requiring it.

  5. David Nye says:

    … and my sympathies also go out to all those now kicking themselves for not having ordered their “fibre” service a little sooner. (“Fibre” broadband connections are still working, standard ADSL services are not, since they need that stolen cable.)

  6. Walter says:

    For those who are unfamiliar, and only if you are one of the lucky 264 (maximum) VDSL subscribers already connected, there are services such as SKYPE available to make telephone and mobile calls worldwide either free of charge to another Skype member or else for a fee.

    This is one of the reasons I have been pressing for far more VDSL capacity than BT have provided.

  7. Being one of the fortunate residents that has VDSL and therefore broadband I am happy to offer any Ewhurst residents access to my Internet service. If you need urgent access to emails etc please call me on 01483 548987 – yes you can call my landline as I have had this diverted to my mobile by BT (for free).

    If anyone wants to divert their landline then just contact BT on 0330 123 4151. You can call this number as a ‘normal’ number from your mobile without incurring charges for 0800 calls. You will need to go through a few hoops and confirm you don’t have a fault at your premises! Just tell them that you have already tried plugging your phone into the test socket underneath the faceplate on your main BT terminal.

  8. David Nye says:

    Thanks Mark, but I understand that free redirection is normally only available automatically if your phone rental is from BT. See my later comment below for further details.

  9. David Nye says:

    Eagle Radio News Reporter, Yasmin, is really keen to talk to someone about the copper cable theft in Ewhurst. She wants to record (on the phone) an interview along the lines of how the lack of telephone lines is affecting the community and whether BT have been helpful. Please contact Yasmin on 01483 468 701 or news@964eagle.co.uk

  10. David Nye says:

    Referring to Mark’s suggestion to redirect calls, this applies if your phone line is billed by BT. Other providers will normally charge for the redirection service, but will often refund or cancel the charge on request once the phone line is working again; provided that Openreach have accepted responsibility for the fault. This is true for Plusnet, apparently. I understand that BT Retail are able to provide this service free of charge simply because they typically (on average) charge more for the line rental.

  11. David Nye says:

    Duke of Kent School is offering free internet access to all Ewhurst residents from 22.01.13 until the lines are fixed. Access is available from 9.30am-11.30am and 2.15pm to 4.15pm. Please come to the school office. Subject to filtered guest access and acceptable use policy. Free tea and coffee too!

    Of course, those who need it will not see this! So please let them know for us. Many thanks.

  12. Walter says:

    I have today been involved with two observations re a repair completion date.

    The first was a direct request via a Communication Provider but BT refuse to disclose any information about a completion. Many of us appreciate what a task is involved in such a major replacement of part of the network. A little informal information, complete with any appropriate caveats, might make a welcome change from the usual BT culture.

    The second observation suggests a significant amount of repair work is still outstanding in rather hostile weather conditions. My unofficial crystal ball suggests next next week end might well see some positive results. However it might be that further activity could continue either over the week end or possibly into the next working week.

    Although we would all like to see this episode ended, it would be quite wrong to bodge the repairs as that would diminish the network resilience leading to more prolonged grief, perhaps on an individual level with irritating fault reporting systems. I suspect we could all do well without another débacle such as that of 7 July 2012 still outstanding in Peaslake Road.

  13. I have just driven past the area between Sayers Croft and the manhole where (one half) of the theft took place. There are 8 BT Openreach vehicles there with temporary traffic lights and there appears to be significant activity.

    Damian (Hazelbank Country Stores) was told by some BT folk that some service would be restored by this weekend however, another resident, who just talked to the engineers has been told it is more likely some time next week…

    As Walter says above, this is a huge task which we don’t want BT to rush it, but some official feedback would be very welcome.

    Once again, I can also offer free Internet to local residents if Duke of Kent is a little too far. Contact me as per my previous post above.

  14. Ron says:

    GU67QU is back in service this am. Well done BT and hope they can concrete the cable in place this time.

  15. David Nye says:

    Thanks Ron. Both our lines are also back in service, in Horsham Lane.

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