Further broadband disruption for Shetland header image

Published: 23rd Jul 2013

Broadband services in Shetland have been disrupted due to a damaged fibre optic cable.

The region is one of the most remote corners of the UK and as a result people living on the islands often have to struggle with slow and unreliable connections.

According to ISPreview, the latest problem to hit the area is an issue with an undersea cable, which links mainland Scotland and the Faroe Islands. The cable, which was only installed around one year ago, has suffered a break, meaning broadband and phone services on Shetland are negatively affected.

To resolve the problem, the signals that would normally travel along the cable now have to be diverted to a different route and as a result internet connections on the islands are slower.

A statement from Shetland Telecom said: "Faroese Telecom have re-routed traffic from Shetland ... 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."

The company has not revealed how long it will take to repair the damage.

This is not the first time people on the Scottish islands have had to suffer from unreliable broadband. In March, Shetland News reported the same cable that is out of action at present, was severed, leaving many of the island's residents without internet access.

Furthermore, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) - the company responsible for improving connections in the region - revealed in May that super-fast broadband may only reach 75 per cent of Shetland households.

The firm's chief executive Alex Paterson visited the islands for three days and told Shetland News the remaining 25 per cent of residents may have to wait until beyond 2015 for an improved service.

"There are places across the region that are too far from the exchanges and the technologies don’t exist yet to get to these places," he stated.

A possible solution to Shetland's online struggles is satellite broadband. This technology requires no infrastructural development, meaning it is unaffected by the problems currently blighting local residents.

Posted by Mark Wynn