Incommunicado at Christmas

As the end of 2003 approached, some residents of parts of the western Algarve had been without telephone lines or internet connections for three weeks, following heavy storms at the end of November. Exasperated residents, anxious to contact their loved-ones in the run-up to Christmas, made frequent complaints to Portugal Telecom, but had not been met with a satisfactory response.

Ron Ellis, from Almadena, told the Algarve Resident that about 50 or 60 people were still waiting for their lines to be repaired after lightning burned the ends of cables in the area. “I phoned a helpline number, but all they do is take down the details and allocate you a number in a queue,” Mr Ellis explained. “I then went down to the main offices of Portugal Telecom in Lagos to make a complaint, but all they would say was that they have a lot of problems at the moment and that they’re doing all they can given the manpower available. They really should be putting extra resources into this area. We seem to have lots of trouble around Burgau, Espiche, Almadena and Luz. Sometimes our telephone lines go down and we have to sit and wait a few hours for them to come back again.”

Mr Ellis admitted that an engineer from Portugal Telecom did come to his house about five days after the storm. The engineer appeared to rectify the problem, but, a few minutes after the man’s departure, the telephone line was out of order again.

In the period leading up to Christmas, Mr Ellis had still not been given any indication as to when, or if, Portugal Telecom would remedy the problem. If you’ve had PT problems, please contact us.