Community / Cable repairs continue to cause outages for some

It is understood that repairs on the cable should be completed, depending on weather conditions, by lunchtime on Sunday

Repair work on the damaged Shefa-2 cable was carried out at the end of October off Shetland by the cable repair ship Cable Vigilance. Photo: Ronnie Robertson.

CONNECTIVITY in some Shetland households and businesses is still being disrupted as repairs continue on the damaged subsea telecoms cable off the South Mainland.

A spokesperson for Openreach, which maintains the UK’s broadband network, said on Thursday that repairs were underway.

They said there will be some disruption for a “small number of broadband users”.

However, there are reports of numerous internet outages – with Shetland Islands Council leader Emma Macdonald tweeting on Friday that it is causing “significant disruption and challenges”.

It is understood that repairs on the cable should be completed, depending on weather conditions, by lunchtime on Sunday.

The council said it understands that users who have lost their internet connection have their service provided through companies who do not have resilient connections.  This means they are not able to access the undamaged fibre, and are reliant on the ongoing repairs to restore their service.


For the council, there are problems affecting some telecare and community alarms, including some which are delivered through landlines (analogue lines).

Staff have been contacting clients directly, but we would ask families and friends to check in with elderly or vulnerable relatives to ensure that their phone lines are working.

If there are any concerns, people should contact duty social work on 01595 744468 in working hours or 01595 695611 during out of hours, and over the weekend.

Busta House Hotel in the North Mainland posted on social media that it had no internet, and that bookings had to be made by phone – while cash payments are preferred.

Meanwhile over in Lerwick design company Artmachine said it is unable to respond to emails.

Earlier in the week Openreach explained that for technical reasons the temporary fix in place after last Thursday’s blackout cannot be maintained while permanent repairs on the SHEFA-2 cable are carried out.

Become a supporter of Shetland News


Broadband users in Shetland through providers like Sky and Vodafone have reported disruption since Wednesday, although BT customers should be unaffected.

There have also been reports of some disruption to phone services.

The ship Cable Vigilance arrived earlier this week a mile off Troswick, to the east of the South Mainland, to commence with repairs of the damaged section of the subsea cable.

A notice to mariners said repairs are expected to be completed by 1 November, but it was only last updated on Tuesday.

It added though that the cable is unburied and is of high risk to fishing vessels in the area.

The issue of telecoms reliability was raised in both the Scottish and UK parliaments this week by Shetland’s political representatives.

The fault on the SHEFA-2 cable off Shetland came after two breaks in the north section of the network, between the isles and Faroe. All incidents are believed to have involved fishing vessel gear.

The cable network is owned by Faroese Telecom, and it links Faroe to the UK mainland via Shetland and Orkney.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.



Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.