An Angus company’s phone debacle described as like something out of a Monty Python sketch has been raised in the House of Commons.
Angus MP Mike Weir told the House of the problems Guthrie-based Angus Horticulture Limited had obtaining a reliable service.
The fertiliser company’s problems were featured in The Courier in August, at which stage the business had been unable to receive incoming phone calls for more than 10 weeks due to a series of failures by BT.
Sales director and part owner Stephen Appleton explained that it took weeks for a repair to be arranged only for an engineer to realise that more traffic lights were needed before work could be carried out.
The problem was then passed around various departments within BT and its network company, Openreach, before the service was eventually restored three months after the problem was first reported.
At the time BT apologised for the delay in repairing the fault, which involved complex underground engineering work.
Speaking in the debate at the House of Commons, Mr Weir explained that Mr Appleton had approached his office at the start of August.
“Openreach had by this time acknowledged an entitlement to compensation, but the company was in the surreal position of being told that nothing could be done until service had been restored,” Mr Weir said.
“One could have forgiven him for thinking he had strayed into a Kafka novel or a Monty Python sketch.
“The delay in effecting repairs, despite the involvement of cohorts of BT and Openreach staff and engineers, was apparently down to the fact the problem required traffic management.
“By early August that had taken 10 weeks to organise, during the course of which BT had apparently lost the form, which caused huge delays.
“It appeared to be beyond the wit of BT Openreach to get engineers and traffic management in place simultaneously.”
He added that BT “cares little for the effects on business of its complete incompetence in dealing speedily with repairs” and called for action to ensure that a reliable broadband service was provided in all rural areas.
Mr Appleton said that after the fault was finally fixed in August, the service subsequently broke down again within weeks.
Although his telecom services are currently working he said they continue to be slow and unreliable.
He said: “It really is about time something radical was done to shake up the UK’s communications industry.
“I know we’re not alone in receiving poor service.
“Hopefully Mike Weir’s raising our issues in the House of Commons will help take the country forward to a place where our communications network improves to the standard we should be able to expect.”