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3,000 Fibrus Broadband Users Cut-off by Storms Isha and Jocelyn

Thursday, Jan 25th, 2024 (8:34 am) - Score 1,880

Over 3,000 of Fibrus’ full fibre broadband ISP customers, mostly across rural parts of Northern Ireland, have been left disconnected from the internet after two named storms – Isha and Jocelyn – hit across the UK in quick succession. Some of those affected have been told to wait as long as a week for service restoration.

The figure is relatively significant for a network operator of Fibrus’ size, which has so far covered around 300,000 premises across the UK with their new Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network and is currently home to 70,000 customers.

NOTE: Infracapital-backed Fibrus has attracted over £750m of committed capital, including £235m from investors, £220m from a banking consortium and the rest as public subsidy (e.g. £197m Project Stratum – 85,000 premises by March 2025 in N.Ireland – and the £108m Project Gigabit contract for 60,000 premises in Cumbria, England – Hyperfast GB).

According to the BBC News, at one point the storm damage affected more than 5,200 of the provider’s customers and some of those have complained about a lack of communication from Fibrus. The situation isn’t helped by the fact that they appear to be one of the few ISPs to lack a proper service status page (these help to keep users informed about problems and reduce the pressure on support lines) and are currently cutting jobs (here).

However, Fibrus have since put up a notice on their website, which appears to suggest that most of the issues are being caused by power cuts (although their network has also been damaged in places). The provider has also published a map (pictured – top) that roughly outlines the areas most affected by the storm, at least in Northern Ireland.

Fibrus Statement

We are experiencing significant issues across the electrical network due to the recent weather conditions, and this is having a knock-on effect with our broadband service. Due to the current number of issues recorded, we are unable to provide an estimated restoration time for your connection unfortunately. However, our team are working hard to restore all services as quickly and safely as possible.

A spokesperson for the provider has since added that they’re “working really hard to restore all services as quickly as possible” and that this “may take up to a week, but we are aiming to get things back to normal within the next 2-3 days.” But questions have been raised over whether Fibrus will compensate customers, particularly as they aren’t a member of Ofcom’s automatic compensation scheme (high costs mean only the biggest providers have signed up to this)

Naturally, flooding, snow, major power cuts and high winds aren’t exactly kind to modern communication networks, which is particularly true in rural areas where it may take longer to correct for significant infrastructure damage.

In addition, health and safety considerations mean that network operators can’t always send engineers in to repair the network until the worst storm danger has passed, and the sites made safe. Certain work may also require special permission for road closures and specialist equipment, which tends to take a bit of time to secure. Suffice to say, resolving serious network damage isn’t a quick job.

Crucially, Fibrus are by no means the only broadband operator facing problems. For example, a fair few customers on Openreach’s network – particularly in Scotland and Northern Ireland – are also suffering from a variety of problems, such as damaged street cabinets (we’ve seen the odd one that was blown over by the wind – quite rare), damaged poles, cable damage caused by flooding (usually more of an issue for copper lines) and power cuts.

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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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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10 Responses
  1. Avatar photo AJR says:

    Hopefully the customers can be brought back into service in good time, it was a wild few days.

    Interesting to see how Alt Nets, who presumabley all scale down their resource to the bare bones post build, will be able to manage the maintenance and repair of large networks vs the incumbent nationwide networks.

    As weather patterns get more extreme, this could be an expensive issue long term.

    1. Mark-Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      Worth keeping in mind that, thanks to PIA, it may be Openreach that is responsible for repairing some of the damage to shared infrastructure. Similarly, power cuts are normally for power companies to resolve, so often there’s an issue of multilayer responsibility. This makes it difficult to do an apples-to-apples style comparison and every area is going to be different.

    2. Avatar photo Big Dave says:

      @Mark Jackson

      So if for example an Openreach pole is felled during bad weather breaking an altnets cables are Openreach responsible for repairing the pole and the broken cables or do they just have to reinstate the pole (and their own cables)and the altnet has to repair their own cables? If it’s the latter this could make it a somewhat long winded process.

    3. Mark-Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      The issue of responsibility is, I’m sure, a topic that AltNets will tell you can be a “lot” of fun to work through with Openreach 🙂 . Often both the AltNet and Openreach’s engineers may be present on-site, at least for the cross-over, but there’s some variation depending on the specifics of what has been damaged and where. I recommend a read of the PIA Product Description (not sure if the main one is actually in the public domain) as it covers a lot of different situations.

  2. Avatar photo Matt says:

    mine went down on Sunday and it was fixed by Wednesday afternoon. The need for traffic management delayed things a bit. Fair play to them though they did a quick job all things considered in my case.

    I noticed with this fault and previous damage on their network there appears to be a lot of “weak links” in their network where one bit of cable gets damaged and it impacts a lot more people than you would expect.

    communication was not great from them though. Nothing to be found online, though there is an unofficial Facebook group they appear to supply info to, it had a bit of info about areas and the number of people impacted but nothing on their own pages.

  3. Avatar photo Ryan says:

    Had no issues with my Openreach FTTP in Derry.

  4. Avatar photo Just a thought says:

    Mmmm affected by power cuts. If only they had a battery and generator at the local exchange that could cope with that……
    Makes the pathetic hour long battery backup for the ONT and router useless if the network has no alternative power……

    1. Avatar photo 125us says:

      Why is that the telco’s responsibility? Do you blame your fridge freezer manufacturer when it also stops working in a power cut? Reliable power delivery is the sole responsibility of the power company.

    2. Avatar photo RightSaidFred says:

      @125us broadband networks are critical national infrastructure, so they have a responsibility to ensure that those networks are resilient. Part of that means having sufficient contingency for power failures, which means having a suitable level of backup.

      It’s also true that none of that means a thing if the end consumer doesn’t also employ some sort of backup on their end; PONs require power at both ends.

    3. Avatar photo 125us says:

      How is broadband CNI? No-one is running air traffic control over it or operating railway signalling or operating nuclear power stations.

      Things that are CNI have CNI levels of protection and resilience.

      Broadband customer have shown the market repeatedly that they value price over all other attributes and the market has responded with products that meet that requirement.

Comments are closed

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