Businesses in limbo after telecom crash

WATTON businesses which lost their phones, faxes and internet access after the collapse of a North West telecoms company say they remain in an expensive communications limbo.

WATTON businesses which lost their phones, faxes and internet access after the collapse of a North West telecoms company say they remain in an expensive communications limbo.

The companies, which include a garage and taxi firm from the town and a coal merchant from North Walsham, have lost thousands of pounds because of the telecoms debacle and they do not know when they will be reconnected.

Their phone lines were disconnected last week after Lancashire based Global Telecoms and Technology Ltd folded earlier last month.

On Friday telecoms regulator Ofcom said that phone lines should be reconnected by providers within 24 to 48 hours.

But yesterday the companies, all three of which have gone back to BT, were still waiting for connection.

Grahame Parrott, who owns Aerolite petrol station and garage on Norwich Road in Watton, said the problems had cut his turnover by �10,000 to �15,000 last week.

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With no telecom lines not only does he not have any phones but he is also unable to accept credit and debit cards or gas and electricity card payments.

He said: 'I was told that if the lines were analogue it would have only taken 24 hours but because it is a digital system it takes a lot longer to sort out.

'We were sent a contract last week by BT and signed it and sent it back and were told it would take up to 10 days.

'But on Monday we were sent another contract because the last one was incorrect and now BT are saying up to 10 days from the start of this week.

'Our business was down two thirds last week and no one could go on like that for much longer.'

On the other side of Watton Stephen Sellers who runs Breckland taxi service Home James Cars, a garage and a trailer business from the Threxton Road industrial estate, is equally frustrated.

He said: 'I rang up BT and they said I needed to speak to the local office to be reconnected. I have been unable to get hold of them.

'They will not tell me when we will be back on.'

Gavin Cater, from Bryan Cater Coal Merchants in North Walsham, has also lost his phones as a result of the Global problem.

He said he was losing money but, with another cold snap looming, he was worried about his elderly customers being able to get in touch to order fuel.

A BT spokesman said: 'BT is doing everything possible to ensure Global Telecom and Technology Ltd customers can have their service restored as quickly as possible.

'We have put special arrangements in place to restore customers. This includes reducing the time to manage the standard switch over process for lines that is currently industry regulated to 10 days for all service providers under these special circumstances. The exact time taken to reconnect customers will depend on their individual requirements."

It is thought that Global operated between 3,500 and 4,000 communication lines in the UK but is it not known how many Norfolk businesses have been affected by the firm's collapse.

The Times was unable to contact anyone from Global Telecoms and Technology.

To contact Home James ring 07745 970979, to contact Aerolite ring 07932 774807 or to contact Bryan Carter Coal Merchants ring 07860 137701.

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