How Zayo Teamwork Kept Customer Networks Going Strong During Hurricane Barry

Protecting and maintaining the network for our customers is no small task. It involves monitoring our fibre, facilities, transport and Layer II/III network infrastructure in North America and Europe, managing thousands of service requests every month, addressing outages and initiating repairs and handling 1,800 planned maintenance requests 24x7x365.

And when severe weather threatens, Zayo’s Field Operations, Outside Plant teams and Network Control Center (NCC) in Tulsa are ready, implementing comprehensive network preparedness plans. That was the case with Hurricane Barry earlier this summer, which hit the central Louisiana coast and moved inland, causing widespread flooding.

As Barry was moving toward the U.S. Gulf Coast, the teams launched their preparedness efforts: inspecting cable, ILAs and POPs, topping off generators, monitoring and supplementing inventory and ensuring repair teams were available around the clock and at the ready to handle any potential outages. Critical alarms were addressed and non-critical planned maintenance postponed. The NCC, Network and Field Ops teams initiated an emergency bridge, established open Voxer channels and held twice daily calls as Hurricane Barry’s path became more certain.

As part of their prep, the team identified a 144-count cable along the Bonnet Carre spillway that was compromised as the storm approached. With only 48 hours until the storm’s landfall, the Central Outside Plant team developed a plan to secure the cable to the railway bridge, obtained approval from the railway and were on the ground with the railway team, securing the cable to the bridge. The team coordinated with railroad to be able to place 14,000 feet of cable along the catwalk of the railroad tracks and later coming back to apply clamps and attaching the cable to ensure it was secured. Zayo team members from the Atlanta area and Nashville worked throughout the day and night to complete the task.

At the same time, the Network Control Center (NCC) staffed up in preparation for the storm, putting additional employees on call if needed. The team was heavily engaged throughout the event to ensure the NCC teams were fully staffed and efforts coordinated.

As a result, customer impact from the storm was minimal. Two ILA sites in Louisiana lost power but “failed over” to generator power. Batteries are also in place if generators fail. (Zayo’s NCC team would initiate an immediate dispatch if such a situation were to occur.) Intense monitoring and sweeps of the Zayo network continued as the storm passed through Louisiana, parts of Mississippi, and on towards Memphis.

“Our comprehensive playbook and the tireless commitment of our collective team ensured that our customers’ service was uninterrupted,” said Mike Sharpe, Zayo’s senior vice president of Operations. “This team takes great pride in supporting our customers, stopping at nothing to get the job done.”