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After Storm Dennis – Broadband ISP Outages Sweep the UK UPDATE

Monday, February 17th, 2020 (7:52 am) - Score 4,704

Significant flooding (c. 200 warnings issued), power outages and winds gusting over 90 mph as a result of Storm Dennis – the second major storm since Ciara just last weekend – has caused a fair bit of damaged to the broadband and telecoms infrastructure of multiple operators across the United Kingdom.

The good news is that the vast majority of people still have working phone and internet connections this morning, with some services being rerouted while repairs take place. Mercifully most of the outages, the bulk of which occurred over the weekend and were location specific, remained fairly brief and only lasted a few short hours.

Nevertheless quite a few areas continue to be affected by the aftermath of more extreme events, particularly heavy flooding and locations where the winds were at their strongest, which inevitably means some disruption due to damage (e.g. street cabinets under water, telegraph poles blown over, power cuts etc.) and a related strain on engineering resources in the worst affected counties.

Unfortunately not all network operators issue service status updates for their infrastructure, although Openreach’s most recent declaration of areas now deemed to be under Matters Beyond Our Reasonable Control (MBORC) gives us some indication of where the damage has been most significant. In MBORC areas resources are refocused toward repairs, which can in some cases result in delays to new service installs.

Worst Hit UK Areas (Openreach)
Belfast (Northern Ireland)
Devon and Cornwall (England)
Lancs & Merseyside
Oxford & Severnside (England)
Somerset (England)
West Yorkshire (England)

We hope to have a further update later today. Otherwise please spare a thought for the engineers, across many different operators, who have to go out during horrible weather and must often work long hours to get everybody back online.

UPDATE 18th Feb 2020

After an assessment of damage Openreach has expanded their list of areas deemed to be under MBORC.

Belfast (Northern Ireland)
Devon and Cornwall
Lancs & Merseyside
North and Mid Wales
Oxford & Severnside
Swansea and West Wales
West Yorkshire

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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.
Leave a Comment
9 Responses
  1. chris conder says:

    The engineers are the salt of the earth. Well done to all of them.

    1. TheTruth says:

      So say all of us…

  2. David says:

    Here in South Devon our phone line failed on ‘Storm Ciara Sunday’. 8 days on, still waiting for it to be fixed.

    1. Steveocee says:

      Appreciate no phone/internet is a major PITA but you do have to bear in mind, storm conditions cause massive issues. If there is a flood and a cabinet goes down then there is a huge amount of repair work to be undertaken.
      Once you begin to get rural then you have a huge possibility of not just fallen but broken tree branches taking lines out.
      In these conditions it wouldn’t be uncommon to have a 2 week plus wait time for an engineer (if you have reported the issue). They get classed as MBORC (matters beyond our reasonable control) so it’s very much a get in line and we’ll fix it when we can.
      It’s going to be a very busy couple of weeks for engineers on the front line so make sure you offer them plenty of cups of tea and biscuits.

    2. NGA for all says:

      @Steveocee – How bad is it for FTTC or where FTTC CURE was deployed in Towns/villages compared to FTTP?

    3. Richie Brian says:

      @NGA for all

      FTTC Fibre To The Cabinet, using existing copper between the cabinet and the premises, is likely to be worse than FTTP Fibre To The Premises because although the fibre part is new, the copper may have been in place for decades, and be failing due to normal wear and tear anyway, let alone additional stress from storms and an influx of brand new engineers. Furthermore, copper uses electricity, and water is an excellent conductor, so wet copper joints are a problem. Fibre uses light, so water is much less of an issue, so should be more resilient to flooding – apart from the bits that need power, of course.

  3. Roger_Gooner says:

    I’m in London and not in a flood-prone area but just in case there is a major problem I’ve got my mobile phones on different networks (EE and O2) plus my VM connection. I did have three power failures during storm Ciara but each lasted for minute or less.

  4. Missy Jackson says:

    I’m lucky enough in North Wales to only have one outage with sky broadband during the storms and it didn’t last long about an hour thank you so much to all the engineers who brave these cold and stormy wet conditions for us

  5. roger says:

    The storms getting bigger in area coverage, frequent and with increasing severity,therefore, curious to know if 5G infrastructure would have survived during Ciara and Dennis?

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