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Parliamentary Debates and Questions

S5W-20650: Bruce Crawford (Stirling)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 18 December 2018

To ask the Scottish Government, in light of the potential impact on households and businesses in the area, whether it will discuss with Openreach the reports of poor, interrupted and failing phone lines in Crianlarich.

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse 15 January 2019

Scottish Government officials have and continue to be in regular contact with BT in respect of the intermittent isolations at the Crianlarich exchange.

The small exchange, servicing around 140 customers, in the Crianlarich area has experienced a number of intermittent issues over the past year which has resulted in short isolations of the exchange. During these outages no outgoing calls from landlines can be made - including to 999, which is clearly a matter of concern.

It is important to clarify that mobile phones would not have been affected. Broadband services are also unaffected.

Openreach maintain that intermittent nature and complexity of the fault has proved challenging. We have been informed that engineers have replaced or upgraded the majority of equipment and are monitoring the exchange 24/7. We have been further informed that Openreach engineers are working with remote monitoring colleagues across the UK as well as equipment suppliers.

As of the 14 January 2019, Openreach say that the exchange has been relatively stable since Friday 11 January 2019 with phone outages now typically lasting a short period and being less frequent. However, clearly I am concerned that any customer might be unable to call the 999 service and we will be keen to see Openreach resolve this with all due urgency.

A payphone linked to another route is available in the unlikely event that customers cannot make calls and want to. Police Scotland and Stirling Council have shared this information at BT’s request. However, this must be resolved.

Openreach have assured us that testing, monitoring and equipment replacement will continue until the issue is fully resolved.