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Openreach sends emergency team to St Agnes

Openreach has sent an emergency response team to St Agnes following indications that the cable that serves the island may have been damaged.

The island’s fixed telecommunications link is provided by an undersea cable that stretches from the mainland.

This cable has served St Agnes reliably for 28 years but a recent increase in the number of faults reported by islanders suggest that it may have been damaged.

Openreach is currently investigating the source of the cable damage and working on a long-term solution for its repair. As a precaution, an Emergency Response Team (pictured above) has been mobilised to ensure St Agnes stays in contact with the mainland. Equipment was sent by boat from the mainland on Wednesday and the Emergency Response Team arrived in St Agnes yesterday morning. The equipment has been tested and is a robust contingency in the unlikely event that the cable fails entirely over the Christmas period.

Andy Parham, Openreach’s Service Delivery Director for Wessex, said: “While all residents and businesses on the island are currently connected, we are preparing for every eventuality to make sure communications to and from St Agnes are maintained during the busy festive season.

"We have set up the contingency equipment on Westward Farm and residents may see an increase in Openreach activity on the island. In the event of complete failure of the cable, our contingency equipment will mean that the island will be able to maintain contact with the mainland. In addition to the project team, we have an Openreach engineer permanently based on the islands and he will be on duty to supervise the project.

“The people of the South West depend on us to keep them connected to their communication services. Last winter was extremely challenging weather-wise and we know there’ll be similar challenges this winter. Our aim is to minimise the impact of service disruption to customers and keep the people of St Agnes connected.”

Openreach provides the telephone and broadband network used by hundreds of service providers such as Sky, TalkTalk and BT. Its fibre broadband network is the biggest in the UK and is available to more than 27 million premises.

Anyone spotting any damage to the Openreach network following bad weather this winter, like loose, snapped or dangling cables, damaged telephone poles or missing manhole covers, can report it to Openreach by calling 0800 023 2023.


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