VIRGIN Media has expressed irritation over the number of its customers who have had their connection cut by workers trying to turn Bournemouth into the UK’s first Fibrecity.

Contractors for i3 have so far installed more than 200 kilometres of fibre optic cabling throughout the town as part of a £30 million scheme to enable homes and businesses to hook up to superfast broadband.

The fibre optics were originally going to be routed through the town’s sewers, but following contractual problems with Wessex Water, i3’s contractors are having to dig up roads and pavements.

Trisha and Terry Rudd were left without a landline, internet or TV for more than a week until Virgin could carry out a temporary repair.

“It would be frightening for somebody who has just got the telephone, can’t get out and doesn’t have a mobile. Luckily we have, but some of the older people haven’t,” said Mrs Rudd.

Delta Lodge, which offers supported accommodation for people with mental health problems near Cemetery Junction, also had its cable cut.

“Virgin restored the telephones, but won’t be able to restore the internet and TV until next Tuesday. A lot of our residents are pretty much dependent on entertainment in the house,” said co-owner Les Morrell-Cross.

A spokesperson for Virgin Media said: “We will also be escalating this issue with Fibrecity management as we are not happy with the frequency at which this is happening.

“We have received reports of five customers who have lost service due to damage caused to our network by Fibrecity contractors.

“We are currently reviewing the process we have in place so we can respond to these instances faster.”

David Burnand, a spokesman for i3 Group, said it had connected 20,000 homes using microtrenching, which enabl-ed it to finish a street in a day.

“We apologise to the people who have been inconvenienced. Other utility cables should lie below the depth that the Fibrecity Bournemouth network is being laid at. Any cables that Fibrecity damages during the rollout have to be repaired by the operator that owns the cable,” he said.