St Martin’s Hit By Fourth Telephone Outage This Year

St Martin’s has been hit by another major telephone outage only months after our MP complained about the poor service provided by BT to the islands.

The latest incident is the fourth major loss of service this year to affect St Martin’s.

Phone lines went down last Wednesday, 23rd November, and were only restored yesterday.

Zoe Julian from Churchtown Farm Flowers says luckily they managed to keep their broadband service this time so internet business wasn’t affected.

They could also diverted telephone customers to mobiles although she added this limits the number of lines they can use and she described the sound quality as “like talking in a tin bucket.”

Zoe says the local engineers were “brilliant” at trying to fix the fault.

She says the real problem lies with trying to contact BT to report the outage and getting any progress reports from them.

Julia Walder from St Martin’s Post Office agreed with this, saying it took a day and a half just to get a text message from BT saying that their fault had been logged.

She says the Post Office uses an ISDN line, which, unlike broadband, was also affected by the outage.

This meant all Post Office counter services, including payments and special deliveries, couldn’t be used and, while Julia said everyone had been very understanding, she felt she’d let her customers down.

The microwave link on St Martin's

She added it was lucky the outage was at a quiet time rather than summer or the busy Christmas season coming up in a couple of weeks.

Chris Orum from BT said the company would “like to apologise to its customers on St Martin’s, who were experiencing problems with broadband and phone lines.

This was caused by a faulty radio link between St Mary’s and St Martin’s. We became aware of the fault on the 23rd and were able to restore service on the 28th.”

Last October, our islands MP, Andrew George, issued a strongly worded statement saying telephony and broadband services on the islands were “not in a happy place” and the service provided by BT was “sloppy”.

He added it was a “mark of failure” on the part of BT that he had to intervene on so many occasions.