Hundreds of residents have had no service for three weeks
Peter Trott beside the Openreach cabinet in Thorpebank Road. Picture: Darren Pepe, Reach
Hundreds of Shepherd's Bush residents have had their lives disrupted for three weeks by a mysterious internet outage.
The problem is believed to be with an Openreach roadside cabinet, which serves as a distribution point for households in Thorpebank Road and Galloway Road.
Although residents along the two streets use different internet providers, they all rely on the infrastructure of one cabinet that belongs to Openreach.
A spokesperson for the company, which is wholly owned by BT Group, said it is working on the problem and apologised for residents' inconvenience.
Historian Peter Trott, who runs a local Facebook group, said: “It started on [August 6].
“It's appalling that it has taken so long and nothing has been done, and so many people are working from home.
“I have been walking to Westfield to use their internet so I can look at my emails, because I don't have a smartphone. I'd rather not be going into busy places at the moment.”
The 70-year-old continued: “Various neighbours have spoken to various Openreach engineers who have worked on the box…
“On the 14th, one engineer told us it looks like a ‘spaghetti junction' inside it. They said it was ‘beyond my capabilities'.
“I contacted Openreach on [August 19]. Interestingly they said they would send an engineer by the 29th to check if it was something wrong with my house.
“Another time I asked to be put in touch with engineers and they said members of the public can't speak to them.”
Esther Dean, 84, of Galloway Road, said: “This has really curtailed my online spending. And I can't get on iPlayer.
“It's amazing how much of your life works around the internet.”
She added: “I volunteer at Fulham Palace, and I need to let the head gardener know what's happening.
“If I was still in full-time employment and working from home this would be disastrous.”
Mr Trott has also sought the help of Labour MP Andy Slaughter and Hammersmith and Fulham Council leader Stepehen Cowan.
An Openreach spokesperson said: “We're really sorry for the difficulties local internet users have experienced.
“Engineers have replaced a series of equipment at a local street cabinet only for further faults to be reported.
“Investigations are ongoing. We're working on it today and hope to see progress as soon as possible.”
Explaining why Mr Trott was told he could not speak on the phone to an Openreach engineer, the spokesperson said: “Under industry agreed rules, these service providers are responsible for liaising with Openreach on their customers' behalf and keeping their customers informed.”
Owen Sheppard - Local Democracy Reporter
August 27, 2020