A number of Internet Service Provider Hebrides.net customers have complained of its broadband service returning to the speeds of dial-up.
As a part of the Connected Communities network, Hebrides.net provides broadband internet to rural communities in the Western Isles.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise, who lead the broadband project, have put the cause of the problem down to capacity (backhaul) from the mainland to the islands.
Donnie Morrison, Senior Development Manager at HIE Innse Gall, said: “Broadband bandwidth from the mainland to the Outer Hebrides is at capacity, which constrains all services including those of the Connected Communities network.
“This constraint on bandwidth availability, combined with customers using increasingly data hungry applications, has made it difficult for providers to meet demand, particularly at peak times.
“Vodafone’s plans to upgrade its mainland link allowed us to place an order in March which will effectively more than double our existing capacity for Hebrides.net customers. The upgrade, which requires work both on the islands and mainland, is ongoing.”
He continued: “In the meantime, to maximise the services for existing customers we put new connections on hold. As soon as the upgraded capacity becomes available we will be able to begin connecting new customers again.
“In addition, we are investigating how Connected Communities customers can benefit from the subsea fibre connection currently being laid to the mainland – either through access to new fibre broadband services or the significantly improved backhaul.”
Despite the lack of service that some Hebrides.net customers are experiencing they are still being charged for the contracted connection speeds that they are reportedly not recieving.
Ian Taylor, from Lochboisdale, has had better service since changing to satellite broadband, although many Hebrides.net customers do not have a viable alternative service available.