Business owners on Portland are signalling their discontent after losing network coverage without warning.

Users of the Orange phone network in Fortuneswell claim they have struggled to make or receive calls in the past eight weeks and have been left feeling like lemons.

Jo Jackson, who co-owns Jacksons Gallery and SeventySeven B&B with her husband Mark, said they weren’t given any advanced notice.

The lack of coverage has led to them missing out on business, including potential B&B guests.

She said: “A man who was trying to pay his deposit couldn’t pay his deposit.

“It was a sailing event.

“He was quite worried, so he booked somewhere else.

“I lost £150 and that was just his deposit.

“He was going to be staying for quite a while.”

Sarah Whiteside, who owns Frank Designs, said the lack of coverage has affected the High Street as well.

She said: “Initially we all assumed it was a temporary problem because there have been issues in the past with network providers.

“Obviously you have to be away from where you are to even call Orange in the first place because you can’t call them up from here.”

After getting through to technical support, Sarah claimed she was told EE, which provides the Orange network, were undertaking an ‘optimising project’ to boost the signal.

Whilst this has taken place, Sarah has struggled to conduct business.

Sarah said: “I do my email, telephone calling, and messaging and my clients can’t contact me.

“I can’t contact them.

“I can’t place orders.”

Sarah said she was offered a booster box – designed to increase network coverage – but she didn’t have a landline to plug it into. She said: “I haven’t needed a landline because I have had a mobile phone contact.”

Sarah has since been able to cancel her contract after negotiating with the company on the phone.

Sarah said: “I told them they are not providing me with a service and I did tell them I’d go to Ofcom if they didn’t let me out of my contract.”

When asked for comment, a spokesman for EE said: “We are aware that some customers have reported problems with signal in the Portland area, and are investigating as a matter of urgency.

“We apologise for the inconvenience caused.”