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UPDATE Fibre Optic Cable Break Disrupts Shetland Islands Broadband

Wednesday, Jun 17th, 2015 (8:52 am) - Score 1,148

Broadband Internet connectivity on the remote Shetland Islands (Northern Scotland) has been seriously impacted after one of BT’s contractors accidentally cut through a vital fibre optic cable link between Maywick and the centre of Lerwick.

The cable is the same one installed on land by Shetland Telecom a few years ago, which is ultimately supplied by a submarine fibre optic cable that connects via the undersea SHEFA-2 line (i.e. linking the Faroe Islands with mainland Scotland). Today it helps to serve thousands of broadband connections on the island, many of which have now been cut.

The incident occurred at around 10am yesterday morning and a statement posted late last night by Shetland Telecom said: “Engineers will be back on site first thing tomorrow to deploy a complete replacement of a section of fibre. We are hopeful of having all services restored before mid-day [today]. Again, we are extremely sorry for the loss of service. We will post info as we get it.”

Ironically BT also rents capacity on the cable to help supply its own broadband services to the island community, thus it’s unclear why their contractor was not aware of the cable’s location.

Meanwhile the work continues in order to roll-out “fibre broadband” (FTTC/P) services to 76% of the island community over the next few years, which is part of the wider Digital Scotland project.

UPDATE 18th June 2015

According to an update posted last night: “All customers have now had full service restored. The new fibre was deployed without a hitch with the assistance of the DLO and then we spliced and jointed as fast as we possibly could.

Service is always our number 1 priority and we endeavour to do the best we can. Sometimes things just don’t work out. New alternative routes are in the pipeline and we will ensure that they are available as soon as possible to ensure that the risk of a repeat of the last few days is greatly reduced.”

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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