A major incident was declared by police after residents on Shetland were left without a phone and internet connection due to a break in the subsea cable connecting their homes to mainland Scotland.
Extra police officers and vehicles from across Scotland were sent to the Shetland islands following the incident, with the cause of the outage yet to be properly identified, although it is believed the breaks were likely caused by a fishing vessel.
BT have now given an update following round the clock work to try and restore power after they confirmed the break is in a third-party cable and that engineers were working to divert services via other lines as soon as possible.
Cable operator Faroese Telecom expect repair to the first damaged cable to be completed by this weekend.
The second damaged cable, impacting Shetland, will then be examined by specialist subsea engineers and is expected to be repaired next week.
A BT Group spokesperson said: “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. While both cable links are being repaired by subsea engineers, engineers were able to reconnect all services via a temporary solution on Thursday afternoon. 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.”
Faeroese Telecom’s head of infrastructure, Pall Vesturbu, told the BBC: “We have reason to believe that the cable was damaged by a fishing vessel.
“There was also an incident last week, and we also believe that this was caused by a fishing vessel.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon described the situation as “very serious” for Shetland and confirmed the Scottish government’s resilience committee met to ensure necessary support was provided.