Another broadband break in Shetland header image

Published: 22nd Jun 2016

Broadband services in Shetland have been disrupted once more.

A break has occurred in the SHEFA-2 underwater fibre optic cable that connects the islands with the UK mainland, ISPreview reports.

This is not the first time this has happened, with previous damage to the cable causing people to lose connectivity across the region. However, this latest break is reported to have had less of an impact.

A statement from Shetland Telecom said: "Broadband services in Shetland have been largely unaffected by a break in the main fibre optic cable linking the islands to the mainland south of Orkney on Monday morning, the cause of which is unknown."

It may take several weeks for the damage to the cable to be repaired and ISPreview claimed this is likely to affect plans to move the infrastructure, which were due to take place next month.

While the impact of this incident was limited, it serves to highlight the broadband problems people in remote parts of Scotland such as Shetland suffer. 

In May, the region's MSP Tavish Scott called for more funding to be diverted towards improving connectivity in these regions.

"People in Shetland are now increasingly more reliant on high-speed broadband for doing business, accessing services and communicating with family and friends across the country and the world," he told Shetland News.

Broadband in Scotland as a whole has made the headlines in recent weeks. The Scottish National Party has accused the coalition government of "failing on this issue", with Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil saying rural areas have been "let down badly".

Meanwhile, it has been revealed that a new commission will look into how the country's broadband can be improved should it choose to split from the UK in September.

Announcing the plans for the Connectivity Commission, Scotland's deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon said independence would remove some of the barriers that are currently holding back internet and mobile phone coverage in rural areas.