What you need to know about fibre network outages

Table of Contents

What you need to know about fiber network outages

Types of Utility Network Outages

Utility network outages are more common than may be  initially perceived. Occurrence can range from minor damage to major blackouts, infrastructure damage to lives lost. The network operators preventative maintenance practices for damage prevention is key in ensuring this doesn’t happen.   The following, none exhaustive list, are industries where utility networks need to be actively managed:

  • Telecommunication
  • Oil and gas
  • Electricity
  • Water 
  • Sewer lines

Proactively managing critical assets of utility networks

For network operators, managing the outside plant assets, which provide critical services to millions of customers, can be a daunting task.  Having the right operational team, standard operating procedures (SOPs), workflows and software can define success in achieving high network up time and meeting KPI’s or SLA’s.

Oustide Plant Assets- Telecommunication (Fibre)
Important Outside Plant Assets in Telecommunication managed by network operators

For any network operators, managing outside plant assets which enables millions of customers served with critical services such as internet connectivity, electricity supplies, sewers can be a daunting task. Having the right operational team, standard operating procedures (SOPs), workflows and software can define success in achieving the right key performance indicators (KPI) and Standard Level Agreement (SLA) of an organization.

What causes network outages and the cost associated with downtime

Outages can be caused by various reasons, to list some of them:

  • Construction Work (Authorised and un-authorised)
  • Inclement weather
  • Vandalism
  • Fire
  • etc

Samples of well documented cases of outages to telecom providers that have resulted in  brought major disruption of critical services 

snowplow damage cause 24 hour internet down to resident and business in Grand county.

Find out how much does Fibre Network Outages costs your organization

[INFOGRAPHIC]: True Cost of Fibre Network Outages in North America

INFOGRAPHIC True Cost of Fibre Network Outages in North America
[INFOGRAPHIC]: True Cost of Fibre Network Outages in North America

We collected data’s on notable outside plant damages based on Common Ground Alliances’ 2022 DIRT Report.

Here are some notable highlights from research on trends involving networks infrastructure damage in North America:

  • Of over 213,792 damages of utility network reported, telecommunication outages represent 48% of the reported damages
  • The second leading cause of damage was due to poor locating / excavation practises.
  • Contractors have been the most liable party in damages
Source: Common Ground Alliance DIRT Report 2022

Proactive maintenance of backbone fibre network for leading telecommunication companies

Proactive measures are needed to ensure assets are not neglected or damaged by 3rd party contractors.

By way of example:  A large field force is needed to proactively manage networks 

  • Coordinate with construction on net
  • Manage utility requests
  • Network Patrols
  • Emergency response
  • Condition surveys etc 


The best solutions to do this combines an experienced workforce with specialist software.

Tools to manage utility network outages

Having access to the right solutions and software to manage a utility network is key in improving uptime and effectively managing day-to-day operations. 

  1. Active fibre activity monitoring tools provide real-time data on locations of outages and in some cases preempts  outages to the network 
  2. GIS based mapping software helps pinpoints your assets 
  3. Software that shows the location of construction actively on-net.   Ensures field services teams can coordinate with construction sites to locate utilities prior to construction.  It helps engineers know if construction sites are aware of the network and if not interdict.
  4. Utility Request software puts network drawings in the hands of those who need them quicker and more accurately than manual request systems.


In addition, having a solution which also does the following helps Operational Team prolong the lifecycle of  network infrastructure:

  • Monitoring patrols of your field team
  • Photographic documentation of the network condition
  • Managing communication with field engineers


Combined together this facilitates Operations Leaders to improve operational uptime, decrease damage and save millions of dollars.  Proactive monitoring is becoming the new defacto requirement for world class networks that want to attract blue chip customers.

 Active Monitoring Proactive Monitoring
 Software outage location is quickly ascertained to speed up-repair times. Increases network uptime, save costs, expands market reputation of provider
 For software that predicts construction outages - network traffic can be moved to diverse paths to avoid disruption. Field service steams are required to interdict to prevent damage Prevent outages before they occur by ensuring constructions on net is aware of the network location
 Field service teams need to be able to get to the location 24/7 to interdict to prevent damage. Easier in cities than rural locations. Requires the combination of field services team and specialist software solutions

Fibre Networks require a large capital investment – having a combination of both active and proactive network solutions increases network uptime, lowers operational costs and improves reputation.

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