The urban areas of areas like Carlisle and Lancaster usually have a nice steady stream of people running speed tests but as a result of the unprecedented volume of rain that fell and subsequent flooding and damage to local infrastructure our speed test logs reveal an almost 48 hour gap in people running speed tests.
|Last speed test in Lancaster before area fell silent for two days and one of the first tests as the clean up got underway|
The two tests above are from a regular speed tester who is on a BT ADSL2+ connection in Lancaster and are the last test seen on the Saturday and the first test seen again on Monday. A similar pattern was repeated in Carlisle though the last test was at 22:40 on Saturday night with tests starting up again on Monday morning.
Given the scale of the damage testing your broadband is a long way down the list of priorities and any property that was flooded most likely lost any broadband hardware in the flood waters. The survival ability of Fibre to the Cabinet and the relatively short 8 hour battery UPS has been raised in some quarters as a problem and while the batteries can be swapped out the power cuts in Lancaster were such that reduced power consumption was the order of the day anyway, so powering up laptops and broadband hardware was discouraged. In areas where water levels rose more than a foot at a cabinet location it is very likely the electronics are now a write-off, and this is one of the on-going risks that Openreach has to accept, just as with Virgin Media where while some nodes are passive a number in an area will be on mains power. Fibre to the Premises in theory can survive flooding so long as the consumer side ONT (optical network termination hardware) is kept dry, GPON networks (e.g. Openreach) are passive once the network leaves the exchange building and point to point networks while needing a powered node to act as the meeting point for the hundreds of individual fibres these can cover a wide area.
In some areas where bridges were wiped out and roads eroded even if nodes were fully waterproof (which G.fast hardware is generally designed to be for deployment in underground chambers or exposed on telephone poles) the wiring be it copper of fibre would have been severed, and this is where copper has an advantage as it can be quicker to jerry-rig wiring whereas with fibre more may need replacing and splicing under challenging conditions.