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Bomb Squad Nearly Blows Up Shetland Telecom’s Fibre Network

Tuesday, August 18th, 2020 (12:20 am) - Score 5,301
shetland_telecom_pipe_bomb

Part of Shetland Telecom‘s fibre optic broadband network on the remote Shetland Islands (Scotland) was only slightly, albeit knowingly, damaged last Friday following the discovering of a WWII era pipe bomb, which had to be made safe through detonation by a professional bomb squad.

The cable itself is the product of the joint SHEFA-2 Interconnect Project, which nearly a decade ago saw the Shetland Islands Council (SIC) establish Shetland Telecom as part of a scheme to connect a local “full fibre” network to the undersea (subsea) SHEFA-2 fibre cable that linked the Faroe Islands with mainland Scotland.

Fast forward to last week and a team from Scottish Water were busy installing a new water main at Scatsta when they discovered the old World War II era pipe bomb. “The bomb was sitting about 50cms under our main (only) fibre link to Sellaness,” said Shetland Telecom on their Facebook page.

Now this is the sort of discovery that can sometimes result in the understandable soiling of an engineer’s trousers, although luckily no such outcome was reported. Instead the ISP had to contact all of their customers in order to make them aware of the situation and that the bomb would be detonated the following day.

A Spokesperson for Shetland Telecom said:

“We amassed a crew ready to repair the fibre as fast as possible after the explosion. So when the time came we had a small army of our own ready and primed. None of us could believe that after the explosion our network monitoring system was showing no problems. Once we got the all clear to do the inspection we discovered that the only damage was a tiny scratch to duct wall.

So we are now in a position to say that Shetland Telecom network is officially “bomb proof“.”

A somewhat grainy video of the incident can be found online, although we’re pleased that nobody was hurt and the network survived with only minor damage. A significant amount of credit for that must also go to the bomb squad for setting up the blast in such a way as to divert most of its energy away from the vulnerable fibre.

All’s well that ends well, but this is still a useful reminder of the dangers that engineers can sometimes face when doing their daily jobs.

shetland_telecom_explosion

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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. Surplus says:

    Fibre broadband is the bomb.

  2. Chris Sayers says:

    Cricky….

  3. Mark says:

    I had to smile at your description of ‘a professional bomb squad’.

    Certainly not time for the amateurs to be let loose!

    1. Joe Pineapples says:

      good one 🙂

  4. Burble says:

    Which reminds me of a WTF moment I had about 10 years ago, was sat at home when there was an almighty explosion, went to investigate and there was a ‘bomb squad’ truck 100m down the road, they had missed evacuating me from my house, rest of road including school children had been sent to end of road. Two weeks later the same thing happened again! Should I be worried they are trying to finish me off, if not from the explosions, from a heart attack?

  5. Peter says:

    Explosive news!

    1. A_Builder says:

      I’m blown away by that…..

      Seriously great work by EO team to work that accurately.

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