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SHEFA2 Fibre Optic Cable Break Disrupts Broadband on the Shetland Islands

Tuesday, Jul 23rd, 2013 (7:48 am) - Score 1,273

The remote Shetland Islands (North of Scotland, UK) have once again had to suffer disruption to some of their local broadband and phone services after the vital undersea SHEFA-2 (Faroese Telecom) fibre optic cable, which links the Faroe Islands with mainland Scotland, was damaged on Friday morning just south of Orkney.

The cable, which has only been live for a year or so (here), is also being used by BT’s £8m effort to replace its old Microwave (radio) connection to the remote islands (here). Unfortunately the break meant that some of the islands traffic had to be forced back over the slow radio link and local broadband speeds have subsequently nosedived down to sub-1Mbps territory.

Meanwhile traffic that would ordinarily run over the SHEFA2 cable was instead diverted on to FARICE1 (resilient route) that connects Faroe and Iceland to the UK. Unfortunately this created an additional problem yesterday night when, between 10pm and 2am, Faroese Telecom announced that they had to do some critical emergency work on FARICE1. Thankfully this work has now completed.

Shetland Telecom Statement

Faroese Telecom have re-routed traffic from Shetland on to DANICE (cable from Denmark to Iceland). Customers may notice an increase in ping times as all traffic is going from Shetland to Faroe, then to Iceland then Denmark and finally to London.

It’s not known how long it will take to repair the primary cable but a similar incident occurred earlier this year (March 2013) and at that time the problem took around two weeks to resolve (here). One of the reasons for this is due to the time that it takes for the necessary cable repair ship to be prepared and arrive on-site.

By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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