Shetland Isles Reconnected After Subsea Cables Repaired

Connectivity with the British mainland restored for the Shetland and Faroe Isles, after damage last week to two subsea cables

Two cables connecting the British mainland to the Shetland and Faroe Islands have been repaired after they were damaged last week.

Last week police declared a major incident after the subsea cable connecting the Shetland Isles to the UK mainland was damaged – severing telephone and internet communications.

Concern was raised after it emerged that a second cable connecting the mainland to Shetland and the Faroe Islands had also been damaged the week before.

Power over Ethernet cable shock danger electricity © Sergey Nivens Shutterstock

Subsea cable damage

Last week BT told Silicon UK that engineers were attempt to repair the cables and restore connectivity to the islands.

BT said it was exploring all options, including satellite and wireless backup links to restore services while the subsea repair work continues.

The damage to the second cable (owned by Faroese Telecom) connecting the Shetland Isles to the Faroe Islands was reportedly caused by a fishing trawler.

It is not clear what caused the damage to the cable connecting the mainland to the Shetland Islands, but repairs to both cables were completed by the weekend, resorting connectivity to those remote communities.

“Following the damage to the Faroese Telecom cables linking Shetland with the Scottish Mainland (via Orkney and the Faroe Islands), engineers have been working flat out to find solutions to restore broadband and mobile services to Shetland,” a BT spokesperson told Silicon UK on Friday.

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

“Faroese Telecom expect to complete the permanent repair to the first damaged cable by this weekend,” the spokesperson added. “The second damaged cable will then be examined by Faroese Telecom’s specialist subsea engineers.”

Faroe cable repaired

At the weekend, Faroese Telecom engineers were able to repair the damaged subsea cable.

“Following the restoration of all broadband and mobile services to Shetland on Thursday afternoon, Faroese Telecom has confirmed today (Saturday) that their subsea cable connecting Shetland with the Faroe Islands has been successfully repaired,” a BT spokesperson told Silicon UK.

“All services have remained stable since Thursday afternoon when engineers applied a temporary solution to reconnect Shetland to our network,” the spokesperson concluded.