If this issue really is affecting three villages, I'm guessing that it's going to be something like loading pots on the E-side, fitted back in the day to extend the reach of dial tone, but also cost saving as the conductors used were thin. This is seen round my way affecting the village of Ewelme in Oxfordshire.
I might politely suggest that you had misheard, a loop on a line will usually give no dialling tone as a fault. So maybe it's something else. Where are you, geographically speaking ?