Worthing residents left without broadband during hot weather call for fix

Frustrated residents left without internet access during hot weather have called on broadband providers to secure a permanent fix.

The covered-up broadband cabinet in Romany Road, Durrington
The covered-up broadband cabinet in Romany Road, Durrington

Connection issues were reported in the Durrington area (BN13) today between about 12.15pm and 3.30pm, with engineers working in Romany Road.

Residents also experienced an outage between approximately 2.30pm and 7.45pm yesterday.

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The problems followed a series of outages this summer, coinciding with hot and sunny conditions, while some said issues had been going on for years.

Openreach on the scene last month

Openreach, responsible for infrastructure relied upon by the likes of Sky and other providers, said it had raised the ongoing issue at the ‘highest levels of our business’.

Steve Bagnall, of Orkney Court, said: “We pay good money but get fobbed off every time – Sky say the problem has been fixed.

“I lost two jobs two years ago because I couldn’t access my emails when I worked for myself.

“I have had this problem for five years and have reported it numerous times when it goes off, due to hot weather.”

Sheila Howell, of Pennycress Avenue, said outages during lockdown had affected her nine-year-old granddaughter’s school work.

“My daughter and son-in-law are key workers so I have had her all the time in lockdown. After 2pm when it’s hot we can’t do any work. The school had to send out loads of papers for her.

“I was also shielding for 12 weeks so it got so frustrating.

“I have had problems on and off for three or four years now. It is a long-term thing but nothing gets done.”

The coronavirus lockdown has led to workers becoming increasingly reliant on their broadband while having to work from home.

One home worker, in Highclere Way, said they received a text message from Sky at 8.30am yesterday to say ‘the issue in your area has now been resolved’ – only for the connection to cut out hours later.

They said apparent fixes only lasted until hotter weather returned, suggesting a different, permanent solution may be required.

Sky customer Carole Rishman, of Saxifrage Way, said her disabled daughter, 37, loved using the internet but was left unhappy when it was down.

“It has happened for the last three or four summers and it is just a nightmare,” she said.

“It is whenever we have got hot weather but the last couple of years we have had more.

“I get a bit frustrated with Sky but it’s not totally their fault. All they can do is tell Openreach.

“They (Openreach) need to get their finger out – I just wish they would sort it.”

Outages are linked to fault in a cabinet in Romany Road, which serves numerous broadband providers and scores of households.

Residents said their providers had reported problems to Openreach, which was responsible for the faulty infrastructure.

The cabinet has been covered in plastic sheeting since June.

An Openreach spokesman said: “We’re aware that when the weather is warm our cabinet in Romany Road is prone to faulting. This has happened again today, in spite of us doing our best to prepare it for the expected hot weather.

“Today’s outage is being fixed urgently, but we need to find a better longer-term solution.

“We have raised the problem at the highest levels of our business and our chief engineer’s team will put their efforts into fixing the problem permanently.

“We apologise to the local community for the ongoing problem and remind everyone that if they experience any interruption to their broadband service, they need to log the fault with their broadband provider who will then inform us.”

Sky has been approached for comment.