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Keeping broadband service safe during storms

Luckily I was not affected by the winter storms that caused friends to lose their broadband service. How can I protect myself in future?

Some things you can do nothing about. For example if you live in a rural area you may lose your service because a storm caused overhanging tree branches to damage the lines on telephone poles carrying your service from the local exchange. Unfortunately limited engineer and equipment availability can mean you will be offline for several days.

However you can prevent power surges caused by storms from damaging modems and phones plugged into your wiring system with a surge protector (protecteur de surtension or parasurtenseur).

If the storm is particularly bad it is best to unplug your modem and phone until it abates. If you are going to be away for weeks unplug your equipment, and if you have the option, suspend your services until your return.

If you do experience storm damage tell your provider quickly so as to beat queues for repair. Faults are repaired in order of reporting and it makes no difference which firm you are with as repairs in a certain area are done by the same contracted companies who are not allowed to prioritise any one firm’s customers.

Bear in mind that if you decide to switch to another provider due to delays this will result in your current fault being removed from the system and your new provider will have to start all over again.

It often takes up to four days for a repair (if damage is at your local exchange and affecting many people it will be sooner). Sometimes customers say repairs take longer than in the UK, but this is not the case in our experience.

If you want to get the fastest repair you can pay extra for a business line but few do.

Whichever company you use they cannot make any profit from services that are not running and will have to give refunds, so they are incentivised to get repairs fixed quickly. If you are dissatisfied, the time to seek a new provider is after the fault is fixed.

Question answered by Bob Elliott from the telephone and broadband provider, UK Telecom. See for more information on their services in France

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