New way for Northumberland residents to report network damage to Openeach

Damage to broadband cabinets, telephone poles and overhead wires across the Northumberland can now be reported to Openreach using precise locations from what3words.

Tuesday, 11th May 2021, 3:19 pm

What3words grids the whole Earth into three metre squares, with each square given unique words to make it easier to pinpoint an exact location.

In Northumberland, Cragside is recorded as ‘dunk.hunches.tramps’, Bamburgh Castle is ‘truly.rivals.former’ and Sycamore Gap is ‘bulky.nightlife.indulges’.

Paul McGinlay, Openreach’s director of operations in the north, said: “This should make a huge difference to how safety issues and damage to our network are reported to us and how easy they are to find quickly.

Damage to broadband cabinets, telephone poles and overhead wires across the Northumberland can now be reported to Openreach using precise locations from what3words.

"We have the largest phone and broadband network in the UK, used by hundreds of different service providers, covering everything from city centres to the most rural and remote locations.

"Many of our poles and overhead wires are in areas with no easily identifiable features nearby, so it can be tricky for people to report exactly which pole has been knocked over or which overhead wire is damaged.

“People can report damage to our network directly to us, but any faults with home or business connections should still be directed to their service provider (the company they pay their bill to) as they can easily distinguish between problems affecting our network and all the common issues that might arise inside a home or business – for example faulty routers, hubs and wifi extenders.

“We’ve seen what3words used successfully by emergency services, where the ability for people to report the precise location of an incident has literally saved lives.

"And whilst a damaged pole or cabinet might not seem like a case of life or death, safety of the public and our people is hugely important to us, and our network is a key part of North East infrastructure, keeping homes, businesses and health/emergency services connected.

“To use what3words, you simply need to visit the app or website and make a note of the three words (e.g. darling.lion.race) that pinpoint your chosen location. When you report speak to Openreach, just let us know these three words, and we’ll take care of the rest.”

Reports can be made on Openreach’s website, contacting its Twitter or Facebook teams or by calling 0800 023 2023 (Option 1).

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