Connected Communities up their lightning resistance after broadband outage

Broadband services have been restored to South Harris, the Uists and Barra following a lightning strike on a hilltop mast site in Harris last Friday evening.

The weather conditions today finally allowed engineers to access theremaining damaged equipment high up on the tower at South Harris. SSE replaced the main transformer serving the hilltop site on Saturday following which engineers had to work in poor weather conditions through days of gales and driving sleet to replace most of the transmission equipment on the mast site.

Earlier this week the high winds had prevented access to climb the masts while most of the ground based systems had already been replaced. The mobile phone network has also been damaged and this caused engineers working on site additional challenges as they couldn’t communicate with the network control centre without having to drive several miles to receive mobile reception.

A Connected Communities spokesperson said: “We are aware that the scale of this outage caused considerable inconvenience to all those affected. This was the most damaging lightning strike we have ever experienced since the network was built in 2005 and although all sites have comprehensive lightning protection this did not stop the extensive damage to all the transmission equipment and all the power

systems on the site. More work will be required in the coming weeks to bring the resilience of the site up to the previous standard. Our sincere apologies to all those who were affected and our thanks to all

the engineering staff who braved the elements to bring the service back up.”