Telephone and broadband operator Openreach has been preparing for winter.
The company has been stocking up on thousands of snow shoes, shovels, salt, screenwash and de-icer sprays to make sure millions of people stay connected in the event of severe weather this winter.
Openreach’s director of operations in the north east Paul McGinlay said: “We’ve been working to minimise the potential for disruption as we head into the season that brought us heavy snowfall, followed by the ‘Beast from the East’ last year. We’ve been stocking up so our engineers can keep working.
“We’d also urge anyone to alert us if they spot any damage to our network so we can crack on with repairs. When Mother Nature does come calling, we’ll be ready and able to fight back.”
As well as stocking up on supplies, Openreach has placed increased focus and investment in geographic hotspots that have proved susceptible to storms and wild weather in recent winters. A fleet of 100 4x4 vehicles has been strategically placed around the UK to reach isolated communities quickly.
The winter readiness plans will be supported by a record level of recruitment. Across the north east, more than 1,000 people are employed by Openreach, most of them engineers. And that team is expanding after it was announced last year that more engineers are being recruited.
Openreach provides the telephone and broadband network used by hundreds of service providers such as Sky, TalkTalk and BT. Its fibre broadband network is the biggest in the UK, passing more than 27 million premises.
Anyone spotting any damage to the Openreach network following bad weather this winter, such as loose, snapped or dangling cables, damaged telephone poles or missing manhole covers, can report it by calling 0800 023 2023.