'Ridiculous': BT estimate of "29k for new Ludgvan phone line
A PENSIONER from Ludgvan was dumbfounded when he received an estimate of nearly £30,000 for a new phone line.
Edward Perry, 83, wanted a phone line installed by BT after he moved into the annex of his daughter's house.
But when he inquired about costs, the list of charges which came through from the company totalled £29,000.
"Fancy asking a person like me to pay £29,000 for a telephone, it's ridiculous. I'm just an average working class person," said Mr Perry.
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"I am 83-years-old and receive the state and a small personal pension. I do not have funds to pay the amount BT has requested and I feel their request unfair and unjust."
In a breakdown of the costs, BT said ducting on the 214-metre carriageway alone would cost more than £17,000. Other costs included aerial cable, surveys and road closure.
Due to ill health, Mr Perry moved in with his daughter, Ann Higgins, earlier this year, but was insistent that he should have his own phone line to maintain his independence and privacy.
He added: "I don't like using Ann's phone all the time. Only for emergencies. I moved here from Surrey three years ago and I just want to keep in touch with friends."
Mr Perry also needs to be in regular contact with health care providers as he is receiving treatment for renal cancer and diabetes.
The rural location of their home makes it even more essential for Mr Perry to be able to communicate with others as he has limited mobility.
Mrs Higgins, who already has a BT line at her property, said that when the estimate came through she thought there had been a misprint.
She said: "We initially had an estimate come through for £23,000 which was unbelievable and then it went up to £29,000. I thought it was a mistake. Even when I rang them up, there was a pause on the other end of the line while he was reading the amount. It's laughable."
Mrs Higgins paid BT in advance for the line rental, which they subsequently never received. Mr Perry received a cheque for 56p from BT and waited several weeks before the full charge for the line rental was refunded.
A spokesman from BT confirmed that the estimate was correct and added: "There are rare occasions when, because of the exceptional amount of construction work needed, additional charges need to be applied for providing a new phone line.
"In this particular case, providing a new phone line would include the provision of more than a mile of new overhead cabling, the laying of more than 200 metres of underground ducting and a road closure."
Mr Perry has since bought a mobile phone so he can make calls from his own property, but due to the remote location the signal is unreliable.
He has taken his case up with MP Andrew George.