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Openreach Prepares UK Engineers for the Cold Winter Bite

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2019 (11:56 am) - Score 4,757

Openreach’s fibre broadband and phone engineers often have to work in difficult conditions, which as Winter approaches tends to be exasperated by the additional hazards of snow and ice. Inevitably this can delay repairs and slow the roll-out of new “full fibre” (FTTP) networks, although they claim to be well prepared for 2019/20.

As part of this preparation the operator says they’ve this year “invested in huge amounts of winter weather equipment so [our] engineers can remain on the road“, which among other things includes 62,000 kilos of rock salt; 1,700 snow shovels; 3,400 ice and snow grips for footwear; 3,500 sets of snow socks for van tyres; 20,000 litres of screenwash; and 20,000 de-icer sprays.

As well as stocking up on supplies, Openreach has given a strong focus and investment toward locations which have in the past “proved susceptible to storms and wild weather in recent winters“. A fleet of 4×4 vehicles is now said to be “strategically placed” around the UK to reach isolated and extremely rural communities quickly.

NOTE: Anyone spotting any damage to the Openreach network following bad weather (e.g. loose, snapped or dangling cables, damaged telephone poles or missing manhole covers) can report it here or by calling 0800 023 2023.

A Spokesperson for Openreach said:

“It’s impossible to predict what kind of winter we’re going to have, but we’re doing everything we can to prepare for the worst it can offer. Our engineers are out and about in all conditions, whether that’s fixing and maintaining the network, or working on some of our latest full fibre builds.

Making sure they have access to the latest winter weather kit is not only important to help them do their job, but also essential to make sure they can stay safe, particularly in snow and ice. Our network covers some of the most remote places in the region so this is something that’s really important to us.”

Just as a fun point of comparison, this is what supplies Openreach had in-stock at this time last year (winter of 2018/19): 78,000 kilos of rock salt; 1,500 snow shovels; 6,300 ice and snow grips for footwear; 2,050 sets of snow socks for van tyres; 27,800 litres of screenwash; 29,700 half litre de-icer sprays; and 3,550 kilos of salt solution for de-icing frozen manholes.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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15 Responses
  1. Avatar MAtthew

    So this year they have less lol

    • Avatar Hmm

      Majority of the kit is re-used and engineers who have it existing will just get it out of storage, only things like de-icer and rock salt would need to be replenished if used in the previous year. The new kit snow socks etc would be mainly for new staff or staff that didn’t require it last year that may require it this year. So if anything the levels are the same if not increased.

    • Avatar Squidgy

      No, the report has just used figures from the Scotland area press release last year and the east of England area this year.

    • @Squidgy. Openreach have issued several regional press releases today (not only for the East of England but also West England and East Midlands) and they all highlight the exact same overall figures, which appear to be for the UK (no indication otherwise).

      Likewise the spokesperson’s quote is largely recycled in each regional release, albeit attributed to different people, hence why I didn’t name an individual above as it’s clearly more of a canned statement.

    • Avatar NoFibre

      To be blunt, it’s still a bit of BT PR puff piece stating the bleeding obvious.

  2. Avatar Granola

    “or working on some of our latest full fibre builds in places like Norwich”.

    I have never been to Norwich but that makes it sound like it is one of the worst places for an OR engineer to work in winter.
    I’m sure there must be worse, or is it they are very proud of installing fibre in Norwich for some reason and wanted to get a mention in.

  3. Avatar Luke

    Least you have some equipment. I’ve only just got my summer shorts from Kellys

  4. Avatar Andre

    Pretty sure the difficulties are exacerbated by the bad weather, which can indeed leave the engineers exasperated… 😉

  5. Avatar Andre

    Pretty sure the difficulties are exacerbated by the bad weather, which can indeed leave the engineers exasperated… 😉

  6. Avatar ren

    I read things like this and constantly shake my head in disbelief, You would think ringing them and helping THEM out would be a good thing, NO
    I was staying in a local village, which is FTTP and something was pulling on all the fiber overhead cables, rang BT, and guess what, they said, is it off? NO, so we will only do something till there actually pulled down, now get your head around that, so after that, I wouldn’t even bother mentioning it,pro-active maintenance isn’t a priority when I had no obligation to mention to them in the first place, waste of space.

    • Avatar Hmm

      Rung the wrong company, should have rung the Openreach damage team (number can be found on the public site). They would have had someone out to review it and get ball rolling with a resolution if it was going to be eventually service affecting.

      BT are a ISP who use the Openreach network, it’s Openreach you needed.

    • Avatar Laurence 'GreenReaper" Parry

      That’s the dark side of splitting the companies up, even internally – I bet if BT calls Openreach out, BT has to pay; while if it fails in service, Openreach has to pay BT compensation.

  7. Avatar Ricky

    Right on point their Lawance. AS an engineer I can agree we will always repair any Damage call out to our network, no matter how big or small. Come rain, snow or burning hot summer we don’t stop. It’s why Openreach love employing ex military.

  8. Avatar beany

    Reads story… Looks at news item picture… Reads story again… Looks at news item picture again…

    Priceless!!!

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