'Mobile black hole' across Saffron Walden as phones fail

PUBLISHED: 18:15 01 October 2014 | UPDATED: 18:29 01 October 2014

Archant

Saffron Walden fell into a "mobile black hole" this week when hundreds of residents discovered their phones were out of action.

Outraged users of EE, Virgin Media and Three, have been bombarding social media sites with complaints over the signal wipeout, which started on Monday, with some demanding compensation from the companies.

On the same day, a power cut, affecting just under 900 UK Power Network customers, added to the disruption as businesses could not access the internet. One angry resident, Lucy Ward, who lives in Bridge Street, said: “This is just the latest of a string of disruptions to the Orange and EE mobile service in Saffron Walden. There’s a different excuse every time.

“This latest failure comes on top of the fact that, despite mobile users here paying bills that supposedly provide a 4G mobile broadband service, Walden is not covered for 4G and there are apparently no plans to extend the service here. We are told we live in a hi-tech corridor between London and Cambridge yet we seem to be stuck in a mobile black hole.”

According to EE the loss of signal was caused by a “power outage” in the local area.

A spokesman for EE said: “Following a power outage in the local area some customers in Saffron Walden experienced signalling issues. We are working with our network partner to fix this issue as a matter of priority and we apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

According to UK Power Network, the power cut at around 9am on Monday morning was caused by a fault on an overhead line, affecting 869 customers. All but nine had supplies restored just after 10pm and the repair was completed at just after 2pm.

Gary Ellis, a senior negotiator at Kevin Henry Estate Agents, on Market Street, said the company had lost nearly a week’s work because of the disruption.

“It has been very difficult. The lights went out at 9am, they did come back on around 11am on Monday but we could not use the internet. Two days without it sets us back at least four days because we have to transfer everything we have written down onto the computer system once we are back on.”

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