A recently installed mobile phone mast located behind the ESSO Garage at Witton, Droitwich has caused dozens of households in the area to lose their TV reception.
The mast which had been installed a couple of Sundays ago for and behalf of Vodafone has caused unnecessary loss of viewing for many when it was activated on the afternoon of Tuesday 27th of March.
The normal procedure would be for the organisation who is responsible for sorting out any 4G interference which can be caused by these masts, is to send postcards to households that maybe affected within the local area, normally 2 weeks in advance of the mast being activated. The simple, A5 sized card informs householders that there may be a chance of TV interference in the near future and if interference is experienced you should call at800 who will then send filters as a first response to requests for support. This is expected to solve most issues but, if a viewer needs a visit from an engineer, at800 will provide free visits for households that rely on Freeview for TV.
Unfortunately it looks like normal procedure hasn't been followed this time as I've had over 20 calls today from irate people all within this mobile phone masts catchment area complaining of poor reception or no reception at all and not one of them having received the information card.
What makes this whole situation much worse is that when I have called AT800 on behalf of some of my customers, and given them the answers to their multiple diagnostic questions which includes the affected properties postcode they then make it clear that there is NOT a mast in the area and so there could be no 4G interference coming from a mast that does not exist
No matter how much I might protest to management or team leaders it all falls on deaf ears as in their eyes the problem does not exist.
I wish I could say that it was the first time that I've come across this problem but I can't, as I've seen this sort of scenario happen multiple times over the last few years.
Just how complicated can it be for the installers and/or operators of these mobile phone masts to inform AT800 well in advance of any intended installation totally baffles me.
You would think that sometime during the months and months of pre-planning which is necessary for these mobile phone masts that someone, just someone might be able to communicate that fact to AT800 so they may be aware that sometime in the not to distant future there could be TVI (Television interference) coming from that particular location,
But ok lets except that this is not a perfect world and human errors are made what I find astonishing is that there seems to be no fail safe in place and no backup for this communication breakdown, and let's face it, this is a whopping communication breakdown by a company specialising in, of all things, communication.
Again, just how complicated must it be as an absolute, last resort, failsafe for the guy who threw the switch at the masts location on Tuesday to be able to send a SMS, TXT or EMAIL either directly or indirectly to AT800 informing them of the site location and time of activation!?
At least this would give AT800 the heads-up for the possible large number of calls that may follow and lessons could then be learnt for the next time it happens, instead of telling those callers "Sorry there is NO 4G interference in your area" and having a despicable telephone manner to boot, talking down to each person that calls in.......SHOCKING!
When you consider that there are strong connections between the mobile phone operators and AT800 it does suggest that there is something going seriously wrong......or is there!? I do have my own personal opinion and ideas about this but for the time being at least I shall keep them to myself.
All as I can suggest is for anyone living in and around the witton area of Droitwich who thinks that their TV reception may be adversely affected due to this new mast to call AT800 (number below) but please be aware that they may not be able to help or offer any advise because the mast which is located at the Esso Garage, 130 Worcester Road, Droitwich does not exist!
The only hope being is that if enough people call in and then each call is logged and correlated the desired effect may be achieved via the back door and a late admission from AT800 that there is indeed an active mast there after all.
Unfortunately it will be all too late for many who would prefer to stop inside and watch the box over Easter as I now believe that AT800 will not be able to attend until after the Easter break.
AT800 - 0808 131 3800