RESIDENTS in rural villages near Andover are facing their sixth day without internet following a. Openreach outage caused by Storm Eunice.

Approximately half of Amport village has been without wifi since Friday morning (February 18), due to cable disruption.

Amport Parish Council is calling on Openreach to act quickly, saying that villagers are “reliant” on the service.

Openreach runs the UK’s digital network which is used by more than 650 different providers, including BT, TalkTalk, SKY, Zen and Vodafone.

Speaking on behalf of the council, community liaison Sally Baker told the Advertiser: “People have reported the fault several times. They said Monday evening, then told us categorically it would be back on at 17.41 yesterday [Tuesday, February 22]. They then sent me a note at 20.48 telling me it was back on and thanking me for agreeing that bit was, but it wasn’t.

“Because I have a business line, I can get through to them quite well, but they are not answering any of our queries.”

SEE ALSO: Villages still without power five days after Storm Eunice

Expanding on the inconvenience its caused, she continued: “Half the village is off. We have got a lot of vulnerable and elderly people in the village. We have at least five houses with kids who are supposed to be studying for their GCSEs. Luckily the school is closed, but this is the peak time for them to do their work,

“People are reliant on it. In many areas, such as on The Green, there is no phone signal so you have to use wifi calling. With modern houses, most of us have alarm systems linked to it, heating linked to it, TVs linked to it.”

Sally added that the issue could have been prevented if the village was covered by the  ‘Fibre to the Home’ scheme, which it currently isn’t and no date has been set for delivery of this.

She said: “Rural areas are being seriously discriminated against. Issues like this with a particular cable could be avoided, and as a Parish Council we are starting to form a resilience plan. It’s a serious problem.”

Meanwhile, Gavin Mason - who lives in Little London - told the Advertiser: "Myself and my wife work from home and have had to use local business hubs to continue working which of course incurred a cost to us.

"With Little London having virtually no mobile phone signal, for a lot of the residents it’s been a really testing time. BT have been very poor at communicating to us what the fault is and why it’s taking [so long] resolve."

SEE ALSO: Car collides with signpost on Weyhill Road 

Posting to its website at 8.32am this morning (Wednesday, February 23), Openreach wrote: “We are closely monitoring the network following the recent storms (Dudley, Eunice & Franklin) but are experiencing some issues in areas where the storm has caused damage to telephone and power lines.

“Customers in impacted areas might face issues with their broadband and telephone services as a result of damage from the storm and our engineers are working on restoring services as quickly and safely as possible.”

The Advertiser has contacted the company for more information.

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