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Update: Cable work disrupts communications

SOME telephone and internet services in Shetland continue to suffer from reduced capacity as a result of planned emergency work being carried out on the Shefa-2 undersea cable between Orkney and Shetland.

The work is scheduled to last for another two or three days, but the capacity issues are not expected to last for that long as services will be rerouted via Shefa’s network, the company’s chief executive Pall Vesturbu said.

Shefa is a subsidiary of Faroese Telecom and the undersea cable in question links Faroe, Shetland and Orkney to the Scottish mainland.

Islanders who are calling Shetland Islands Council and cannot get through are advised to keep trying until they are successful.

The council’s website continues to be down on Friday morning, while Lerwick arts venue Mareel posted a message on Facebook saying it was unable to receive phone calls or email, take card payments or print tickets.

“All emergency medical lines are open and working at the Gilbert Bain Hospital and at health centres,” a NHS spokeswoman said.

“NHS services take priority and communication has been moved to a backup subsea fibre cable routed through the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Scandinavia, and back to Britain.”

BT said that a few hundred of their residential broadband customers continued to be off.

A spokesman for BT said: “Shefa, part of Faroese Telecom, were carrying out emergency maintenance to their subsea cable which connects Shetland to the UK mainland.

“A small number of customers in Shetland may be experiencing problems connecting to broadband as a result.

“Shefa are working to restore the subsea link as soon as possible. We’re sorry for any inconvenience.”

Vesturbu said the company was carrying out planned work on its cable between Orkney and Shetland, and services by providers using the cable should easily be rerouted via an alternative route.

“We are doing some planned improvement work on a part of the segment of the Shefa cable between Shetland and Orkney; the work is expected to last for two to three more days,” he said.

“While the work is going on the operators in Shetland should be able to reroute the traffic to Faroe Islands and over another subsea cable back to Scotland.”

Council owned Shetland Telecom, which does not provide services to the local authority, said its services were all working as normal as they were rerouted via Faroese Telecom’s wider network.

The company’s manager Marvin Smith said in a message on Shetland News‘ Facebook page: “Faroese Telecom are working on the cable (not Openreach). It is scheduled maintenance.

“All services should be fine unless the provider you are using has not bought capacity on the backup route via Faroe.