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Still no broadband six months after purchase – now BT says it's 'too muddy' to install it

Thursday, March 9th 2017 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

A BT customer left without a broadband or a phone line for six months by BT has now been told it’s too muddy for engineers to do the work.

Helen Carby, 46, ordered broadband and a phone line from the telecoms giant after moving into a cottage in rural Cumbria last August.

As there was already a BT box and phone cable in the house – and the previous owners had a working phone line and broadband – she didn’t anticipate any problems.

But the installation date came and went, and six months of battling with BT and Openreach had begun.

“Since then there has been a catalogue of incompetence, miscommunication, false truths and general inadequacy on the part of BT,” Mrs Carby told Cable.co.uk.

“We have been led up the garden path in quite a fashion and have been completely helpless.”

With no mobile signal at the cottage, Mrs Carby has had to give out her neighbours’ phone numbers as emergency contacts.

She has also resorted to setting up camp in the village pub – a mile down the road but with superfast fibre broadband from BT – in order to get online.

The nearest place that Mrs Carby can use the internet and get a mobile phone signal is a café five miles away in Sedbergh.

“We have two children at boarding school in Cumbria and when I am at the cottage, the school has no way of contacting me in case of an emergency,” she said.

“I have elderly parents in Lincolnshire and likewise in case of illness I cannot be contacted.”

Mrs Carby said she splits her time between Cumbria and Riyadh, in Saudi Arabia, where her husband Howard, 49, works.

'Foot stamping'

“Somewhat ironically, and perversely, I am completely contactable in Riyadh but not when I am 20 minutes away from school in Cumbria.

“I am busy job hunting so I can return back to the UK permanently but this is absolutely impossible when I am at home.”

Since the new year, the couple haven’t even had access to the BT wi-fi hotspots that had at least given them some connectivity when out and about, as BT’s system had generated a zero bill that said “sorry you are leaving”.

Mrs Carby said after “much foot stamping” BT told her the phone line to her house had been given away after the previous owner moved out and so a new cable needed to be installed.

“It took about five months to get that information out of them. They are now saying it is too muddy to do the work. The truth of the matter is they lost the cable a few weeks ago and once they had found it and got it to the right place, they declared the ground too muddy.

“They seem to have forgotten that this is Cumbria we are talking about. It is lush and green because it rains a lot and is muddy all year round.

“The farmers around our house would, I am sure, laugh ‘til they fell off their tractors if I told them the latest excuse.”

A spokesman for Openreach said: “We’re sorry about the delay in connecting Mrs Carby. This has been an unusually complex job.

“We had to replace several telephone poles and needed time to consult with the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority to consider the impact on the surrounding park land. We also need some dry weather to make the ground solid enough to use the heavy machinery required.

“Our engineers should complete the remaining work this week.”

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