Villagers left without phone and internet

DAMAGE to wiring left houses in a remote Rotherham village without phonelines or internet for five days.

Openreach stressed that the problem which affected Gildingwells were caused by a third party not working on its network.

It was estimated that a third of the village was without service from July 31 to August 4.

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Resident Tim Farnsworth (55) said: “We had no internet or telephone until about 5pm on the Friday.

“It was an absolute nightmare. I have my 92-year-old mother living with us, and she had no contact with friends and family all week whatsoever.

“There was minimal TV, only what you get through the aerial, so nothing like Netflix. It’s all the things you don’t really think about until you haven’t got them, and you miss them.”

He added: “I have a small business and do a lot of paperwork from home. When you’re self-employed, you’ll spend time in an evening sending out invoices and that sort of thing, but I couldn’t do any of that.”

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An Openreach spokesperson said: “We’re sorry for the break in service that affected some Gildingwells residents last week.

“This happened when a separate fibre business – which isn’t associated with Openreach or its contractors – put up a new pole straight through our cable that provides local services.

“Following investigation we secured a site meeting with their management on Friday. They agreed to remove the pole so we could start repairs, which were completed the same day.”

Rother Valley MP Alexander Stafford became involved at the request of Dinnington RMBC ward councillor Julz Hall. He said: “Openreach responded to me within one hour and although it took a couple more emails going back and forth, I am pleased that we did get this resolved for the residents of Gildingwells.

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“I don’t think that all constituents realise that MPs can help escalate this kind of complaint and help get issues affecting the local community resolved.

“In an ideal world these matters would get resolved quickly without the need for assistance, however, this story shows other residents how their elected representatives can help if needed.”