Lightning causes major broadband network failure across Isles

Connected Communities report that they are experiencing a major network outage for broadband services to South Harris, Uists and Barra.

A mast site in South Harris, and all sites south of this point lost service following a significant lightning strike on Friday.

Initially the SSE transformer was identified as the problem and that was replaced by the power company late on Saturday restoring mains power to the site.

However on further investigation the power systems on the mast site were also damaged and this equipment was replaced on Sunday which allowed further diagnostics to be undertaken.

This testing identified that the microwave transmission equipment was also found to have been damaged by the lightning strike.

Engineers have been on site all day Monday having braved high winds, snow, driving rain and wind chill they have replaced more transmission equipment but have been unable to rectify the fault.

Engineers have concluded that cabling and/or antenna systems high up on the mast are also damaged.

Due to the high winds on the hilltop it has been unsafe to climb the mast and engineers will return to site to attempt further repairs.

A Connected Communities spokesperson said: “It is recognised that the scale of this outage is causing considerable inconvenience to all those affected.

“Be assured that engineers have been on site every day working in very poor conditions on an exposed hilltop and will continue to replace damaged equipment until the service is restored.”