Tree row means Vodafone problems continue

By Matthew McKew

Monday, January 20, 2014

 

Tree row means Vodafone problems continue

The phone mast on Cowlease Hill.

A MOBILE phone provider and landowner are at loggerheads over trees, which are blocking the signal for some Isle of Wight customers.

Vodafone customers have experienced five months of poor or no signal due to problems with a mast in Luccombe.

According to Vodafone the problems have been caused by a thicket of evergreen trees on land, next to the mast, which have become too tall.

A Vodafone spokesperson said: "The hold-up is caused by our requirement for permission to trim the nearby trees."

The mast, near Cowlease Hill, in Luccombe, has been in service since the Nineties. The trees are believed to have been planted in the 1930s.

Vodafone said discussions were continuing with the owner of the trees which, along with the mast, are reached from a track owned by the National Trust.

Vodafone said the landowner had suggested it take responsibility for maintaining the track.

The National Trust said it was willing to discuss rights of access and maintenance. The owner of the trees has refused to comment.

A second mast, owned by Arqiva, is next to the Vodafone mast and has no reported problems.

Vodafone customer, David Knight, of Landguard Road, Shanklin, has been among those affected.

Mr Knight, who recently had  a stroke and underwent a triple heart bypass and, said he was distressed because he could not keep in contact with his daughter.

He said: "They seem to be happy to take my money but you’ll be in the middle of a conversation and bop, no signal.

"I have tried contacting them but they just say they are aware of the problem and that seems to be the end of the story."

He added: "It has been very stressful but it’s not just me. I don’t know what holidaymakers think when they cannot get a signal."

Reporter: matthewm@iwcpmail.co.uk

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