MP Says BT Should “Pull It’s Finger Out” Over St Martin’s Fault

The microwave link from St Martin's

BT is being accused of damaging businesses in Scilly this holiday weekend after the telecoms giant has failed to fix a fault that has knocked out phones on St Martin’s.

The Post Office, Adam’s Fish and Chips and a number of guest houses have been unable to take or receive calls since Thursday.

The unexpected outage may not be repaired until after the second week of June, according to locals.

Scent from the Islands’ flower delivery call centre at Churchtown Farm relies on the phones and, although their internet works, they have just one phone line instead of the usual seven.

MD Ben Julian says he is unhappy because this has happened before recently. The lines went down last bank holiday and he’s worried that BT is not capable of keeping their network on the island running.

Churchtown Farm, one of the businesses affected by the outage

Ben believes the connection to the BT network is not up to job after quick and cheap repairs had to be made following an accident some years ago when a cable was dug up at Old Grimsby on Tresco.

This was repaired with a microwave link to St Mary’s using archaic kit salvaged from the Scottish Islands and he thinks this is increasingly difficult to keep running.

Ben added that he pays for enhanced BT Assurance Plus cover but it’s useless because BT are not set up to deliver this on the Islands.

Once up and running he says he will pursue BT for compensation for this and the last outage and he’s encouraging everyone who’s been affected to do this.

MP Andrew George says its time for BT to “pull it’s finger out” and get on and fix the problems.

He says BT and their subsidiary, Openreach, have a bureaucracy that favours machines rather than people and repair orders are not being processed even when there is capacity to fix them. He also says there is an incentive for BT to do things as late as they can.

Andrew says BT has a “moral duty” to refund the extra charges islanders will have to face by diverting home or business lines to mobiles and he will support any of his constituents looking to pursue BT for compensation.

In a statement, BT’s Jason Mann has admitted that there is a phone problem affecting about 30 customers on St Martin’s. He says customers looking for compensation should talk to their telecoms provider adding that BT customers will not normally be charged for diverting to a mobile if there is a fault with their line.