Internet is vital link for Porkellis family
MANY families rely on the internet to communicate with loved ones serving in the Armed Forces overseas.
For Arran Middleton and her daughter Iona, it means they can stay in touch with husband and dad Graham Middleton, who is working to clear landmines in Afghanistan.
But poor or non-existent broadband connections and frustrating delays on the phone to BT call centres have left the family from Porkellis at their wits' end.
Mrs Middleton said her husband, who recently left the Army, was now working as a civilian contractor, supervising Afghans clearing mines.
Buy one get one free on main course and specials excludes fillet steaks and beef wellingtons
Must book to qualify 01209 860332 and present voucher on arrival
Contact: 01209 700617
Valid until: Sunday, December 15 2013
She said: "It is ironic that Graham's internet connection is about ten times faster than ours – and he's in Kabul.
"The internet has become a huge lifeline for families with relatives in the Services. I've been an Army wife and sometimes their husbands can be away for six months at a time."
She also runs a holiday cottage business at Porkellis, near Helston, which again relies on the internet and telephone.
Yet, she said the landline telephone also stops working or is difficult to hear with crackling and interference on the line.
"Companies like BT have sold us this dream, that we can use the internet. They are even talking now about super-fast broadband but we haven't got any.
"My problem with BT is that they have ignored the whole issue."
She said at least eight BT engineers have been out to inspect the line in the past two years and she had now paid for an internet router which uses a mobile signal instead.
Neighbour Astrid Siegel said she also had decided to ditch BT after numerous problems.
She said BT, however, was still billing her for internet services and added she had been threatened with a debt collection agency.
She said she had spent many hours being passed around call centres and asked to repeat the same tests on her telephone and internet equipment.
A spokesman for BT said it apologises to any customers who have had problems and that the latest outage was due to a lightning strike.
"We are sorry for the problems experienced by these customers," he said.
"The problems were originally caused by a lightning strike, which was a direct hit on our network and caused very extensive damage.
"We had a team of engineers working on the repair for around three weeks and all customers should now have a normal working service again.
"The final four outstanding fault reports were cleared earlier this week when we were given permission for a road closure so that 250 metres of underground cabling could be replaced."
He denied there was any problem with the telephone exchanges and said all of those in Cornwall were fully digital and had the latest equipment.