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Storm Eunice Strikes and Causes Damage to UK Telecoms Networks

Friday, Feb 18th, 2022 (4:41 pm) - Score 7,680
Openreach Engineer Next to Fallen Tree 2022

Storm Eunice struck the UK today, bringing with it winds gusting up to 80-90mph across large parts of South England and Wales, as well as rain, high seas and – in some parts of Scotland – heavy snowfall. The event has unsurprisingly also caused damage to telecoms (broadband and mobile) infrastructure, resulting in outages.

At the time of writing, engineers from different operators are currently still in the early phases of responding to this event, and so we don’t yet have the full picture of the storm’s impact. But such storms tend to result in plenty of power failures and flooding, as well as damage from falling trees that can impact overhead cables (telegraph poles) and street cabinets – although direct strikes on cabinets are rare. 

NOTE: Last year’s Storm Arwen event even resulted in some remote areas being left to wait 8 weeks or more for repairs to fully complete.

Openreach (BT) informs us that there has already been “substantial damage to some of our poles and overhead wires“, and a number of their green roadside cabinets are currently without power. Hundreds of faults have so far been reported to the operator and, as those are investigated, the number is likely to increase.

In addition, power companies are reporting numerous sporadic power cuts across the country, particularly across the South of England and Wales, which can often impact broadband connectivity as, even if the line still works, few people have a backup source of power for their routers etc.

Storm-Eunice-2022-Warning-Map-of-the-UK

We should point out that several UK ISPs – including BT, EE, Hyperoptic, Sky Broadband, TalkTalk, Utility Warehouse, Virgin Media, Vodafone and Zen Internet – are also members of Ofcom’s Automatic Compensation scheme (full summary), which is designed to compensate consumers by £8 per day for delayed repairs following a loss of broadband (assuming it isn’t fixed within 2 working days). Missed appointments can also attract compensation of £25 and a delay to the start of a new service would be £5 per day.

Openreach Statement

As always, the safety of our people and the general public remains our number one priority so, in red warning areas, we’d advised our people to stay inside during the storm. But as the storm eases and warnings reduce, our engineers are now starting to assess the damage and restore connections where it’s safe to do so.

Our teams will be working throughout the weekend so we’ll get all of our customers reconnected as quickly as possible, but it won’t be easy. Some services will take longer to fix than others, especially if they require road closures, specialist equipment or safety measures, so we thank everyone in advance for their patience and understanding.

For customers and the public, we would advise that if you’re phone or broadband stops working, and if you have a mobile phone signal, please call your service provider (the company you pay your bill to) and let them know by reporting a fault. This is important so we can get an accurate picture of where the disruption is and whether it’s affecting our network or equipment provided by others. That in turn will lead to a quicker fix.

Meanwhile if you spot one of our poles down or overhead wires hanging dangerously low, or any damage to our network, you can report this directly to us here: www.openreach.co.uk/damage and via our freephone number – 0800 023 2023 (option 1).

In these situations, it’s not uncommon for Openreach to declare a status of Matters Beyond Our Reasonable Control (MBORC) in the worst hit areas, which means that there may be a delay to general service provision and upgrade work while engineers are prioritising repairs. Missed engineering appointments are also a possibility.

Some providers, such as TalkTalk, have stated that customers in the following areas may experience a delay with faults getting resolved. This list will probably change as the situation evolves.

Worst Hit Areas (Broadband)
Avon and Wiltshire
Blackwater
Brentwood
Bristol Wiltshire Dorset
Central London
Chilterns
Devon and Cornwall
East Downs
East London
East Wales and Gloucestershire
Hampshire Berkshire
Hemel
IOW
London North East
London North West
London South
Newmarket
North Downs
Oxford & Northants
Solent
Somerset
South and West Wales
South Anglia
South Downs
South London
South Wales
Thamesway
The Marches
West Country
West Downs
West London

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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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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Comments
14 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Somerset says:

    There is no area called ‘Avon’.

    1. Avatar photo Peach says:

      These are all engineering areas within Openreach

    2. Avatar photo A_Builder says:

      Up until recently, people looked at you oddly when I talked about the Solar PV and Solar Thermal or waste water recycling on my house.

      Now with increasing energy bills the questions is more “How can I do that” when I explain just how much money it saves.

      Nothing about virtue signalling it all makes sound financial sense particularly as it was all self fit during lock down.

    3. Avatar photo Ryan says:

      @A_Builder I can see where the savings in solar, waste water recycling isn’t going save people much unless they got a water meter fortunately my place doesn’t a meter my household are high water users.

  2. Avatar photo Phil says:

    Lucky as Telford isn’t affected

  3. Avatar photo James says:

    Is that image from today?

    1. Avatar photo bubbles says:

      If so as well, what of?

  4. Avatar photo Burble says:

    Due to a HV problem our power has been at 130v since sometime yesterday, ONT and TalkTalk Business router still work, good job as they won’t pay out a penny until after 10 working days (two weeks).

    1. Avatar photo A_Builder says:

      The joys of having on board DC -> DC voltage convertors and very low power requirements.

      Doesn’t take much to power an ONT or a modern compact domestic router.

    2. Avatar photo 125us says:

      Why complain about an SLA you freely signed up for?

  5. Avatar photo NE555 says:

    London South *and* South London affected? A double whammy for them!

  6. Avatar photo Sam Perry says:

    I’ve lost half my speed, and keeps dropping out.

  7. Avatar photo Jim says:

    My confusion is that both VM on cable (Home) and Vodafone for work via VDSL were both down at exactly the same time. Do VM & Vodafone share data centres or something that would cause them both to go off at the same time?

  8. Avatar photo Liz says:

    I lost landline and broadband during storm Eunice, Openreach have quoted June as the earliest they will be restored.

Comments are closed

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