The location of the UK’s Shetland Islands off the north coast of Scotland.
- A set of remote UK islands was cut off from communications on Thursday, police said.
- A communications company said there was a “break” in a vital undersea cable.
- It was the second such breakup in the space of a week, with no immediate explanation.
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A set of remote islands off the coast of Scotland were mysteriously cut off from the outside world on Thursday, with phones and internet connections failing after an undersea cable was damaged.
Local Shetland Islands Police said that there has been a “complete blackout” in the islands and that “telephones, internet and computers are not usable”.
He said engineers were working urgently to repair the fault.
A spokesman for BT, which runs much of Britain’s telecoms network, told the BBC there was a ‘break’ in the undersea cable that connects the islands to the UK mainland via the north of Scotland.
The cable, known as SHEFA-2, is highlighted on the map below. Given their small population, Shetlands have relatively poor connectivity to the outside world, meaning they can be cut off by a single break in wire.
The outage came after another undersea cable to Shetland, connecting it to the even more remote Faroe Island, was also damaged, the BBC reported.
More meaningful links – such as those between the United States and continental Europe – have more than a dozen separate cables, which means a single cut is less likely to cause failure.
“Engineers are working to divert services via alternate routes as soon as possible and we will provide further updates. Our external submarine provider is also looking to quickly restore their link,” BT said.
Neither the police nor BT gave a reason for the break in the cable.
About 23,000 people live on the islands.