Video: Furious families left for weeks with no phone or internet access

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A group of residents are at the end of their tether after being without telephone or internet services for three weeks.

Families in Langhurst Close and Langhurstwood Road, Horsham, found themselves cut off after a falling tree snapped a cable on Christmas Day.

Ray Lawes with the snapped cable SUS-181201-160018001

Ray Lawes with the snapped cable SUS-181201-160018001

People working from home, the elderly and couples with young children have all been affected and left angry after being unable to get answers to queries on when the problem would be fixed.

Lois Diplock, 70, of Langhurst Close, has ongoing health problems and has had to rely on her mobile phone to contact her doctor, but has racked up additional mobile bills.

“There’s an elderly lady next door who has a pay-as-you-go mobile and has run out of credit and can’t afford to top it up.

“There are also children who can’t do their homework because nowadays they all have to do it on their computers.”

Another resident - Ray Lawes, of Langhurstwood Road - said: “The community has been without phone and internet services due to complete lack of urgency and customer care from BT and Openreach.”

He said he had to go to Rusper Golf Club to get a secure internet connection to allow him to complete internet banking transactions. “It’s ridiculous. We have had no support whatsoever.”

He has complained to the CEOs of both BT and Openreach and sought help from Horsham’s MP Jeremy Quin.

Another resident - Anne Sedlmayr, also of Langhurstwood Road - said: “Given that Openreach are the controllers and owners of the entire communication infrastructure in Horsham including this more rural part, and taking into consideration the sheer density of trees and woodland that we have here, we cannot see why telegraph poles and overhead cables are still being used in this day and age.

“We are at an extremely high risk of similar faults happening in the future and have several in the past.”

In a letter to BT and Openreach bosses, she added: “Is it not about time that Openreach/the local government started investing in the more rural part of Horsham?

“There are local businesses who operate here, children at school who do homework online, self employed people who work from offices in their homes and elderly people who are reliant on the internet and telephone for communication.

“It is beyond belief that this area is being ignored in terms of both repairs and upgrading the infrastructure.”

A spokesman for Openreach said: “A fallen tree has damaged an overhead cable which has affected service to residents in Langhurstwood Road, Horsham.

“Restoring service has been delayed as traffic light suppliers did not arrive when scheduled and non-standard cable has had to be ordered.

“Engineers are working as fast as they can and traffic lights are scheduled to arrive on January 14, so engineers to carry the work out the repair work safely.”