Broadband News

Lancaster and Carlisle coming back online after almost 48 hours

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
Last speed test in Lancaster as Storm Desmond raged
One of the first speed tests in Lancaster after Storm Desmond

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 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.


Out of interest, what's the general trend in speed differences in the affected areas? The speedtest showed above shows an increase - It would be interesting to see the overall trend

  • chris6273
  • over 2 years ago

Really need to get a months data together to see if the area bucks the trend for other similar population sized areas.

If a VDSL2 cab survived but only 5 out of 40 customers have kit up and running crosstalk will be lower so people might see a speed boost for a while

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • over 2 years ago

Just for the record, the B4RN nodes had no power supply from the grid during this same period, but they carried on working throughout, supplying the homes on the network that had power or had ups in their homes. A real fibre network has resilience built in. FTTC has no resilience. Gfarce won't either. Just sayin. And powering up laptops was not discouraged, they are essential to many, its just things like Christmas tree lights that were. The internet is a lifeline now.

  • cyberdoyle
  • over 2 years ago

Over the Pennines in the BDUK microwave to the premises trial Desmond was blamed for 2 outages - that is 3 in kess than 2 months. All AIrwaves fault but getting to cabinets when Wensleydale floded to reset equipment slowed it down. Out Saturday most of the day, again Sunday and then 2 days of slow speed on backup link to Darlington (thankyou LN Comms for insisting on that link after the first outage in October)

  • rjohnloader
  • over 2 years ago

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