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BT Fault Knocks Shetland Villages Offline for 30 Hours
By: MarkJ - 20 June, 2008 (8:37 AM)

BT is facing heavy criticism after businesses and households in the Shetland villages of Vidlin and Uyeasound were left without broadband for up to 30 hours during much of Wednesday and Thursday. The Shetland News claims it took BT nearly all of that time (24 hours) just to admit that the fault was at its end and not the customers'.

It's understood that similar network faults had affected rural villages at least eight times in 2006 and 2007, with BT investing 40,000 last year to fix the problems. BT has apologised for its "totally unsatisfactory" performance and once again promised to do better:

BT Spokesman: "I'm afraid it was the usual suspect which caused the problem, i.e. a fault on the virtual path of the core network between Glasgow and Lerwick.

Traffic had to be switched over at the ATM (Asynchronous Transfer Mode) node in Glasgow. I'm told alarms did not go off because the link only partly failed and continued to carry other broadband traffic.

This is the first time it has failed in around six months, but that is still once too often. Much work has been carried out on the core network to solve this recurring problem and it's deeply frustrating both to us and yourselves that it has happened again.

Unfortunately residents of such villages haven't just had to suffer from connectivity problems, with many only able to receive service speeds of 0.5Mbps (512Kbps), which is becoming increasingly unacceptable.

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