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Telephone chaos - day 6
updated 03/04/04
BT phone engineer Day 6 of the Manchester phone crisis: the latest news.



ArrowHave your say
Engineers roll out new fibre optic cable
  • Sat 0900 BST: British Telecom (BT) says the majority of tens of thousands of phone lines damaged recently by a fire in Manchester are now working. More details >>>

  • Fri 1600 BST: Homes and businesses will have to wait to find out how much compensation they will get. BT says customers must wait until the cause of the fire is known before it can discuss compensation. More details >>

  • graphic
    The tunnel under the city
    Fri 0900 BST: BT say there are now fewer than 1,000 telephone lines still cut off. BT says services should be back to normal by Saturday.

  • Thu 1330 BST: BT say they have halved the number of customers still affected. There are still 18,000 phone lines still out of action. More details >>

  • Thu 1200 BST: BT engineers have once again been working through the night in the tunnel after the fire which damaged hundreds of fibre optic cables. It's hoped that an attempt last night to re-route calls so they don't go via the damaged lines will have eased the situation. BT say its one of the worst incidents they've ever had to deal with.

  • Wed 1530 BST: BT says it has repaired more than half of the phone lines knocked out by a fire beneath Manchester city centre on Monday. BT said it had reconnected 72,000 lines but still had about 58,000 to repair. More details >>

  • Wed 1330 BST: An electrical fault is now the likely cause of the underground cable fire which knocked out 130,000 phone lines in the North West on Monday.

  • Wed 1100 BST: BT Wholesale chief executive Paul Reynolds has paid tribute to firefighters and BT teams. Expressing regret to everyone who has been affected by the fire, he said: "The impact on families and businesses caused by Monday's fire in our deep tunnel under the city centre is unprecedented."

  • Kilometres of new fibre optic cable being pushed underground to try to reconnect the city. Each one of these can carry thousands of phone lines.

  • cash point
    Cash points are closed
    Priority being given to essential services eg doctors, hospitals, social services. Mobile phones are being given to the most vulnerable in society.

  • Wed 0700 BST: BT say 25% of the cable capacity had been repaired and service had been restored in areas of Glossop, Prestbury and south of Macclesfield - with further significant improvements expected today.

  • Tue 1800 BST: BT say: "The first main cable was repaired by 6pm on Tuesday and others are progressively coming back into use."

  • Businesses are being affected: call centres close down, companies who use the internet are badly hit. Many banks have been forced to close - their security depends on phone lines.

  • Some shops cannot top up mobile phones because the normal phone lines are down.

  • Many ATM cash machines are being closed because they are not being re-filled with cash.

  • Many shops are also running out cash. And they can't use credit or debit card machines which are also dependent on phone lines.

  • BT say firestops in the tunnel limited damage to a 200m section but will review fire precautions.

  • Mon 1600 BST: Greater Manchester Fire Service say the fire is not too serious but reaching it is proving problematic. He said: "The firefighters needed breathing apparatus and were using a lot of air up by the time they reached the fire, so we had a high turnover of firefighters."

  • Mon 0900 BST: The tunnel is 30 metres underground running between the Rutherford House exchange in George Street and the Dial House exchange in Chapel St.

  • Emergency services were also affected: Greater Manchester Ambulance Service having to contact its emergency crews by mobile phone.

  • Telephone lines have also been affected outside Manchester. Emergency calls in Cheshire were affected as 10,000 phone lines in the east of the county went down. Cheshire Police urge people affected to 'use mobile phones.'

    Phone lines are also down in Merseyside, Lancashire and north Derbyshire.

  • Mon 0330 BST: Fire breaks out in BT underground tunnel below the city centre. Fire crews had to climb down 30 metres and then crawl 150 metres to get to the fire.

Tell us how you are coping without your phone and Internet: Phone chaos: have your say




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