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Rats blamed for knocking out Cumbrian town's mobile phone service

Rodents have been blamed for damage which has left mobile phone users in part of north Cumbria frustrated and without service.

Longtown has been without Vodafone coverage for almost three weeks.

It has affected a wide range of customers in the town.

The chairman of the town’s First Responders unit – which provides initial first aid to people who have suffered injuries – said it has had an impact on their work.

“It is not affecting us to the extent that we are not getting the calls,” Steve Whyberd said.

“But if we get a call and the ambulance is delayed or things start to develop and we need to phone for advice or somebody’s getting violent – we have nobody to contact.

“We haven’t come across this yet but it is just a matter of time.”

A local business has also told the News & Star that it has had problems as a result of the outage.

William Armstrong Ltd, a haulage firm, has 19 mobiles with Vodafone sim cards.

As well as using them for calls and text messages, the company also relies on these to perform tasks such as keeping track of deliveries and using an automatic gate.

Martin Knudsen, the company’s IT manager, said: “We have had no service since August 19, everybody in Longtown with a Vodafone sim has been affected.”

He added that the firm had had to buy replacement pay-as-you-go sim cards from other networks and that several employees had started directing calls to their personal phones.

He has heard many people in the town complain about the problem.

“There will be a big cost,” he said.

A spokesman for Vodafone said: “We wish to apologise to our customers in Longtown who have recently suffered from a loss of mobile phone coverage. We have tracked the fault to damage to our cabling at the nearby site from rodents.

“We have engineers on site this weekend to repair the damage and restore coverage to the area.”

Have your say

It seems amazing that Vodafone can allow problem with their network in a particular area to remain uncorrected for such a length of time. I cannot imagine BT allowing a fault on one of their landline exchanges to take an area offline for more than hours, never mind days. This is not the first report I have heard of involving Vodafone failures in other parts of the country.

Nowadays mobile services are just as important and landline services.

Posted by MFR on 10 September 2013 at 11:13

Tues, Sept 10, 11.10am update:
Vodafone say they have restored the service.
Customers lost service for around three weeks after rodents chewed through cabling near the town.
The company sent engineers to repair the damage.
A spokesman said yesterday (Monday): "The site is up and running as of 4.30pm today. We will continue to monitor overnight to ensure that the site remains stable."
This morning he added that there had been no problems reported overnight.

Posted by Ian on 10 September 2013 at 11:07

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