Shetland 'cut off' without internet and phone lines as BT say sorry

BT revealed that engineers are working to fix the issue after a cable connecting Shetland with the mainland suffered a 'break'.

BT have released a statement apologising after a major outage on the Shetland Isles has left residents without phone, broadband and mobile services.

Police revealed on Thursday morning that the island, which has a population of just under 23,000, suffered a “complete outage” which has affected its connection to the main line.

The force urged locals only to make calls in “emergency situations,” adding locals may have to “flag down a vehicle that does not have its blue lights on,” if they are unable to get through.

BT confirmed the outage was down to a “break” in a third-party subsea cable connecting Shetland with the Scottish mainland.

A spokesperson said: “Due to a break in a third-party subsea cable connecting Shetland with the Scottish mainland, some phone, broadband and mobile services are affected.

“Engineers are working to divert services via other routes as soon as possible and we’ll provide further updates.

“Our external subsea provider is also looking to restore their link quickly. Anyone who needs to call 999 should try their landline or their mobile, even if they don’t have signal from their own mobile provider.

“We’re sorry for any inconvenience.”

Police confirmed that engineers are working on the issue and will provide more information when possible.

The outage comes after a recent warning from Shetland Council suggested that a combination of older, lower-quality housing, rising energy bills and the extreme cold would leave 96% of households on the island in fuel poverty.

Openreach have been contacted for comment.

Superintendent David Ross said: “We are advising people not to make non-urgent calls for the time being so that all available lines can be used for emergencies if required.

“In an emergency the public should try calling 999 on their landline or mobile. If that does not work you should go to your nearest police station, ambulance station, fire station or hospital to report an emergency or try flagging down an emergency services vehicle that does not have its blue lights on.”

He added: “Officers are patrolling in vehicles and on foot and we are working with partners to make additional resources available. I would ask that relatives and neighbours of elderly or vulnerable people check on them regularly. Assistance alarms may not be operating correctly.”

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