Extreme weather and storms
What we're doing and how you can help
What we’re doing to keep Britain connected during extreme weather
How you can prepare for extreme weather effecting your broadband and telephone services
We’re doing everything we can to prepare for the winter weather. Here are some of the ways that you can prepare:
- Tell your provider if you’re vulnerable: Let your phone or broadband provider - the company you pay your bill to - know if you or a family member is vulnerable, so you’ll be prioritised, wherever possible, during any repair work. If you’re unsure, Ofcom publishes useful guidance on this.
- Prepare for an outage: Make sure your mobile phone and any spare battery packs are fully charged if you know extreme weather is approaching. It could provide you with vital access to help, online services, and contact with friends and family.
- Report damage: Outages can happen because trees or branches hit our cables and equipment. You can help us fix things faster by reporting this kind of issue directly to us online. Use a What3Words location to help us pinpoint the damage.
- Check your power: We have backup plans in the event of local power cuts to keep our network running, but you might find it hard to connect if your own power is disrupted.
- Consider upgrading to Full Fibre: Our Ultrafast full fibre broadband network now reaches more than 9m homes and businesses across the UK. As well as being faster, more reliable and future-proof, it’s more resistant to the effects of bad weather, like extremes of temperature and flooding. Check now to find out if you can upgrade.
- More information: If phone and broadband services are disrupted, you can find out the latest information we have at openreach.com. Always report a fault to your service provider so we know there’s a problem.
What to do if your broadband, tv, or phone service is affected
If your broadband or phone service is impacted by extreme weather, contact your service provider - they’ll be able to give you more information about your specific circumstance. If there’s a network issue, they’ll let us know and we’ll send a team out to repair the damage as soon as we can.
Frequently asked questions
We’re well on the way to meeting our ambitious plan to build Ultrafast Full Fibre broadband to 25m homes and businesses by the end of 2026. One of the many benefits of our Full Fibre network – alongside offering broadband that’s 10x faster than the national average – is that it’s much more resistant to the effects of the severe weather.
Our Full Fibre network connects homes and businesses directly to our exchanges through fibre optic cables. Fibre cables are far more durable than copper - because they’re not made of metal and transmit data through light beams, they’re impervious to electromagnetic interference and resistant to flood damage.
Our network is used by more than 690 service providers who provide broadband, TV and telephone services to over 28 million homes and Businesses across the UK. It’s a physical infrastructure of copper and fibre cables, some of which run underground and some via telegraph poles. Extreme weather, such as storms or flooding can have a big impact – which is why we’re always working to prepare for every eventuality.
A good example of the types of challenges we can face was during the winter of 21/22 when seven consecutive named storms hit the UK in a three-month period, with Storm Eunice alone causing loss of service for over 19,000 customers. But our engineers worked heroically to restore service within days, and now we’re planning ahead to protect our most vulnerable customers and keep Britain connected.
Despite the scale of outages caused by the severe weather and storms, we are able to restore broadband and phone service within days. We can do this because of the size, skill, and experience of our engineering force. We’ve got 25,000 field engineers who work around the clock, in all weathers, across the length and breadth of the UK, to make sure that we deal with issues as quickly as possible.
Even without named storms, every year we need to replace hundreds of poles across the country because of bad weather. Last year we replaced 750 poles that were damaged by bad weather – a feat only possible because of the dedication of our engineers.
We’re the biggest network in the UK and we’re dedicated to providing the best possible service. That’s why we constantly assess our responses to damage caused by severe weather and look for ways we can improve. After February 2022, when three named storms hit in six days, we set up a new Storm Response Unit (SRU). The SRU uses the learnings from previous storm responses to develop new processes that help us respond to extreme weather events in an even quicker and safer way than before.
Some of these new initiatives include:
- Preparing specialist winter kit for thousands of engineers across the UK
- Testing whether the network can be rerouted in areas that have proved particularly vulnerable to storms in the past
- Reviewing how we share news and information about any disruption with affected communities