Furious residents of a smart commuter belt village say they’ve been cut off from the outside world – they’ve been without a mobile signal for nearly a year.
People living in Smallfield, Surrey, have been unable to call or text since September last year due to a broken telephone mast.
Due to the mast failure, they have been unable to make phone calls or conduct online transactions and a range of necessary services, including grocery shopping, as authentication messages from their banks fail to get through.
The mast is owned by O2, but the outage will affect users of other services, including those of twin company Virgin Media and Tesco and Sky’s mobile service.
Angry residents claim they’ve been ‘ignored’ by O2 since the trouble began – and are now calling for action to be taken and want refunds for the huge inconvenience to their lives.
Jacqui Lacroix (pictured above), who runs Jacqui’s cleaning business, says she can’t even get a signal
Jacqui Lacroix, who runs Jacqui’s cleaning business, says she’s been missing out on clients when rescheduling appointments because she never gets texts and calls — and had to leave the area to get help for her ailing child.
Jacqui said: ‘Some people don’t have a landline and you can’t get a (mobile) signal, it’s just a nightmare.
“I don’t get texts when there’s a problem (with my company), a customer told me not to come and I didn’t even get his text.”
Manjinder Singh said, ‘It has been a huge problem in daily life. When we have relatives, they joke about the area.
“My parents have medical conditions and sometimes we need to call an ambulance. But since we don’t have a reception, we always worry that if, God forbid, we urgently need to call the ambulance, what will happen?
“We also had to miss so many calls from doctors.”
Annalisa Cinque, who runs Bounce Smallfield, shared how it was a big headache for her business.
She said: ‘I switched to O2 a year ago because I run my business from the heart of Smallfield and I understood that O2 was the best provider.
‘I’m not getting any reception at all, for the three to four hours I’m here I’m unreachable, causing my business to suffer.
“It’s pretty despicable. And (we have) received no compensation.’
Jacqui said O2 told her the problem was there were trees in the way, which she disputes, and they cannot access the site because the landowner won’t let them in.
She says, “There are no trees and you can clearly see the mast from the road a few squares away.
“So many people don’t have a signal in the village and O2 don’t care (seem to care) because their reaction tells people they can leave if they want.”
Jacqui added: ‘The thing is that O2 doesn’t seem to be working on it. It affects everyone’s life.’
Furious residents of Smallfield, Surrey, have been unable to call or text since last September due to a broken telephone mast (File image)
Member of Parliament Claire Coutinho said: ‘Since residents first contacted me about the lack of service in and around Smallfield, I have been urging O2 Virgin Media to find a swift solution to the problem. In February I wrote to their CEO asking for a timetable for when normal service will be restored and whether customers are entitled to compensation.
‘I have since had discussions with 02 Virgin Media who have confirmed that they have boosted the coverage signal from the masts around Smallfield and that delays are due to the bureaucracy involved in getting council approval to build a new mast. build at a different location. place.
“My constituents haven’t had access to a service they pay for for almost a year. I will continue to relay my constituents’ frustrations and the details of individual residents who are still not getting service.”
A Virgin Media O2 spokesperson told MailOnline: ‘We are aware that some customers in the Smallfield region may be experiencing occasional coverage issues, and we apologize for any inconvenience.
“Unfortunately, we were unable to access the local mast to upgrade services as planned, so we are working on an alternative solution to improve services for local people.”
They added that it was possible to use an adjacent site.