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Community / BT says satellite back-up links in place if subsea cables fail during repair

SATELLITE back-up links are in place in Shetland as a precaution while repairs take place to telecoms cables.

Much of Shetland was left without broadband and mobile phone signal on Thursday following damage to a subsea Faroese Telecom cable linking the isles to the Scottish mainland.

It followed a fault on Faroese Telecom’s subsea cable between Shetland and Faroe last week – while another break happened on that link in September too.

But by teatime on Thursday much of Shetland had been reconnected thanks to a “temporary solution”.

A BT Group spokesperson said on Friday morning that “engineers have been working flat out to find solutions to restore broadband and mobile services to Shetland”.

“While both cable links are being repaired by subsea engineers, engineers were able to reconnect all services via a temporary solution on Thursday afternoon,” they added.

“Further testing and monitoring overnight has shown that broadband services have remained stable, and we will continue to monitor this.

“As a precaution, we have specialist teams in Shetland with satellite backup links should either of the subsea cables fail while they are being repaired. Faroese Telecom expect to complete the permanent repair to the first damaged cable by this weekend.

“The second damaged cable will then be examined by Faroese Telecom’s specialist subsea engineers.”

The network of telecoms cable in question is SHEFA-2, which runs from Tórshavn to Maywick in Shetland, then from Sandwick onto Orkney and the Scottish mainland.

On Thursday evening NHS Shetland advised the community to call the usual numbers for the Gilbert Bain Hospital and health centres after an emergency line was put in place while the buildings lost connection.

Police Scotland said its extra resources remain in Shetland and will continue to do so until the repairs are fully complete.

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