Storm Dennis Wreaks Broadband Outage havoc

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Storm Dennis has wreaked havoc across the UK, especially with regards to broadband outages. Experts have warned this could continue throughout the week. Unfortunately, the worst-hit areas are still receiving heavy rainfall, leaving many cut off when it comes to telecoms services.


Selectra explains who you should contact if you experience a broadband outage and how to protect yourself against this situation.

Which are the worst-hit areas after Storm Dennis?

The UK hasn’t seen a storm of this magnitude (Storm Dennis) for some time and it hit just after Storm Ciara, leaving no time for infrastructure recovery - notably impacting energy and broadband companies. The Met Office has issued a red warning for rain for the first time since 2015. It also reported that the highest wind speed during the storm was a blistering 91mph at Aberdaron, Gwynedd.

There are also six severe flood warnings in place across England and Wales as a result of Storm Dennis. While the storm is subsiding, heavy rain is forecast to continue in certain parts.

Tragically, at least three people have lost their lives as a result of the storm. People are urged to stay vigilant and to not take any risks. Emergency teams, including the army, are working hard to help impacted communities.

As a result of Storm Dennis, there has been significant disruption and damage to infrastructure networks such as transport, energy utilities and telecommunications. While some impact is commonplace with heavy rain and storms, it has been of a particularly devastating nature this time, with the relentless battering that these storms have brought.

The worst-hit areas are:

  • Belfast
  • Devon and Cornwall
  • Lancashire and Merseyside
  • Oxford and Severnside
  • Somerset
  • West Yorkshire

There are reports from people in these parts that they have already lost their phone line connection for over a week. Unfortunately, there is no easy fix since each outage is unique and requires expert attention for it to be resolved. What makes the situation worse is that broadband engineers and repair crews are stretched thin during extreme weather events.

With conditions still difficult, some places could experience phone and broadband outages for some days still. While the rain is slowing down in some areas, flooded grounds mean many roads are blocked and will take time to be cleared.

What to do if you experience a broadband outage

Broadband providers have been quick to respond to broadband outages and are sending out engineers, where and when possible. While these companies are aware of the general issues people are facing, don’t take for granted that yours will be fixed, in case it isn’t on their radar.

Here’s what you should do if you have a broadband outage:

  1. Check that all of your connections are in place and working. If you have a broadband connection via a fixed landline is the phone line working? Also, try unplugging your modem and reconnecting it, making sure the lights at the front are all working normally.
  2. If you still can’t get connected, check with your service provider. Many telecommunications companies have a broadband outage map. Check your location to see if there is a known problem, otherwise, your issue could be unrelated.
  3. If you can’t see your location listed on the map or your provider doesn’t have one available, you should call them.

If you need to contact your provider about a broadband outage, make sure it is the company that sends you your bill. There are many providers that piggyback on each others’ service, but you will need your account details so the company can provide information and support.

Can you protect yourself from broadband outages?

While the weather is out of our control, there are some broadband services that are less susceptible than others to broadband outages.

1. Fibre broadband

The most reliable is fibre broadband because the cables are typically underground. This can help protect them from severe weather events such as Storm Dennis.

The UK has started rolling out fibre but this isn’t available everywhere yet. If you’re considering swapping to fibre and want to know if you can get it, call us on 01704 468005.

2. ADSL broadband

ADSL broadband is transferred using phone lines and these can be impacted by high winds. There is also the chance that heavy rain damages the lines and posts used to connect them too. At this stage, it’s the most common broadband connection in the UK.

3. 5G broadband

What about 5G broadband, which is all the talk at the moment? Could this solve all our problems? Well, it’s too soon to tell exactly how it will fare on a large-scale.

Even though 5G is wireless and doesn’t need to be connected to your door, it still relies on cell towers. These can also be damaged by severe weather and lead to broadband outages.

4. Satellite broadband

Satellite broadband is slow at the best of times. It can be even more unreliable during storms and heavy weather spells for obvious reasons. The signal has to reach space before being transmitted to your device. This signal can be disrupted with heavy cloud cover and storms.

This connection also requires a dish to be installed on or near your house. This could be damaged by any number of weather events.

While no one system is perfect, there may be a service better-suited to you and your location.

We hope that you haven’t been impacted by Storm Dennis or any of the recent severe weather. Please remember to check your area for warnings of flooding so you’re prepared over the coming week or until the alerts are removed. The Environment Agency, which issues the alerts, suggests that you keep a bag ready with any emergency items such as medicines, in case you need to move quickly. For more excellent advice and information, head to the Environment Agency website and stay safe.

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