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New 10Gbps BT Link Boosts Broadband Capacity to the Shetland Islands

Monday, October 31st, 2016 (1:42 pm) - Score 1,915
shetland lerwick harbour

Telecoms operator BT has today switched-on a new 10Gbps link to the remote Scottish island of Shetland in the North Sea, which will serve to both improve local network resilience and boost capacity for Openreach’s on-going roll-out of FTTC/P based superfast broadband connectivity.

Previous links have generally depended on a common sub-sea cable (e.g. SHEFA-2) linking the islands to the mainland, although this lies across one of the busiest shipping lanes in the North Sea and there have been a number of accidental breakages over the past few years.

Work began on designing the new, secondary link into Lerwick (main port of the Shetland Islands) during last October 2015 and this has now completed. Just to clarify, this is a new circuit that has been built using spare fibres from within existing cable structures (cables owned by Openreach and Foroya/Farice Telecoms).

Owen Moody, BT’s General Manager for Network Capacity, said:

“Our new secondary link is without doubt the most complex network solution in our UK network. We’ve used four separate 10G circuits including one from Foroya Telecom and three high-speed Ethernet links from Openreach capable of carrying large volumes of data.

These four links interconnect via various third-party locations, including Faroese and Icelandic telecom sites and multiple BT buildings, and now perform seamlessly as a single link to deliver full high-speed resilience to Shetland. As well as providing an extra route for mobile calls, data and internet traffic, this investment also provides greater capacity to meet growing demand for these services.”

Brendan Dick, BT Scotland Director, added:

“After many months of hard work we’re delighted to announce that the new link has gone live today to deliver an improved and fully resilient high-speed service experience for customers in the Shetland Islands.

Most disruption to our network is caused by extreme weather, which often particularly affects the more remote parts of Scotland, so we’re especially pleased to have completed this extremely complex project before winter sets in.”

Openreach are currently busy expanding the reach of their FTTC/P network on the Shetland Islands and the new link should help to fuel that effort, although it’s a slow process and more funding will need to be found if the roll-out is to stand any chance of even coming close to the UK’s current 95% target by the end of 2017. This is particularly true now that the Scottish Government are talking about 100% coverage by 2021, which will be easier said than done for some areas.

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Mark Jackson
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 Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
7 Responses
  1. Avatar brianv

    A grander hustle you could not conceive.

    • Avatar ahoy

      “Our new secondary link is without doubt the most complex network solution in our UK network.”

      Yes very complex, one third party circuit in addition to three from OpenReach…

      Anyone taking bets on which took longest to provision? 😉

  2. Avatar PS

    “Just to clarify, this is a new circuit that has been built using spare fibres from within existing cable structures”

    Does this meant that it is not really a new, or diverse, sub-sea link from Shetland back to the mainland… you know where the internet lives?

  3. Avatar MD

    Shame they can’t get above 5mb in Low Fell, Gateshead. Cabinet been shown as Under Review with Openreach for at least 2 years so looks like I will have to resort to Virgin for a half decent BB speed

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