The severe floods affecting large parts of the UK over the Christmas weekend have had a knockout effect on some of the nation’s leading network and bandwidth providers.
In Leeds, Vodafone’s data centre suffered damage caused by the flooding, leaving customers to be faced with intermittent services of voice and data.
A spokesperson for Vodafone told CBR: "We had an issue with power at one particular building in Leeds, and the inability to access the site to install generators once the back-up batteries ran down."
The hub is located in the surroundings of the Aire river, where waters had burst to a record level of 2.95 meters from its normal height of 0.9 metre. This was the "highest ever recorded" tide in the Aire catchment, according to the Environment Agency.
The spokesperson said: "One of our key sites in the Kirkstall Road area of Leeds was affected by the severe flooding over the Christmas weekend, which meant that some Vodafone customers in the North East experienced intermittent issues with voice and data services.
"We had engineers working from Boxing Day to mitigate any customer impact. However, it was clear that it would take a little time for us to repair the damage caused to the site."
Location of Vodafone's data centre.
Generators and other recovery equipment were deployed at the Kirkstall Road data centre once engineers were given access to the hub.
Vodafone said services have now been fully restored and it has also issued an apology to customers. "We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused to customers," the spokesperson said.
Recently, a report has found that in the UK, 45% of companies have experienced down time due to natural causes with half of organisations not prepared to keep their data centre up and running in case of a natural disaster.
Speaking to CBR, Charlie Horrell, MD EMEA at, Diligent, said: "Every data centre should have off-site disaster recovery facilities built in, with back-up communications and power sources able to take over in the event of a natural disaster of this kind.
"Moving data centres away from areas at risk of flooding, having a back-up centre and building in flood defences are equally important as we see more of this kind of weather condition in the UK."
Emergency services affected by BT outage
The flood in the North East region has also damaged BT’s York exchange bringing down phone lines and broadband services.
A BT spokesperson said: "Severe flooding in the Yorkshire area has resulted in the loss of some phone and broadband services. The York BT exchange has been damaged by flood water and our engineers are currently repairing damage to the building’s power supply."
South Tyneside Hospital said that all main external phone lines to the hospital had been cut out after flooding took out the York and Leeds flood exchanges. The 101 non-emergency police line was also affected, with calls being redirected to the NHS’ 111 number, the ChronicleLive reported.
The BT’s spokesperson said that Openreach engineers had been supporting the recovery work and "worked flat out to restore services as soon as possible".
Flood waters are expected to keep affecting thousands across the country, with the Met Office today issuing fresh amber warnings for parts of Scotland.