BT’s network division Openreach has successfully reconnected families and firms in the Belfast and Province areas.
Facing record levels of damage, engineers have been working round the clock to get people back online. While broadband and phone services have been restored in Belfast, problems caused by the recent extreme weather mean that many remain off the grid.
The gale force winds and heavy rainfall experienced over the Christmas and New Year’s has caused extensive damage to the Openreach network, which is used by ISPs including TalkTalk, Sky, Zen, Plusnet and many others.
Openreach employees have yet to reconnect customers in parts of Cumbria, the south west and north east of Scotland including the Highland and Islands.
Similarly, residents of Swansea, parts of North Wales, Mid Wales and neighbouring Shrewsbury can start placing orders for new broadband services, but some customers in these areas are waiting to be reconnected.
In other parts of the UK, the storm damage means that new customers can’t place orders until the necessary repair work has been done.
In the West Country, homes and companies in Exeter and Taunton continue to be affected, as do the East, Central and West Downs across Hampshire, Bournemouth and Southampton on the coast and Crayford, Croydon, Esher and Guilford.
The Environment Agency continues to warn communities in the south of England to be prepared for further flooding. Several parts of the Thames in Oxfordshire, Reading, Sonning, Maidenhead, Windsor, Datchet, Egham, Staines and Richmond could experience flooding. Hampshire, Dorset, Somerset, south Wiltshire, west Sussex and the Midlands continue to be at risk.
Openreach is striving to cope with the huge increase in fault numbers. An Openreach spokesperson said: “We have not taken this action lightly and every effort has been made to meet the repair volumes and fix damage to infrastructure.
“The damage and fault volumes we have seen in some areas due to the weather are so severe that we need to prioritise as much available resource as possible to repair to bring these areas back [to normal] as soon as possible.”
Openreach repair teams seem to be permanently on the road, battling the British elements. After St. Jude’s Storm blasted the country in October 2013, engineers were out reconnecting communities, only to be called back out again a month later.
Image: Paul Wilkinson/Flickr