One of the problems with getting all your up to date news about the Island from a web-based news provider is that if you have no access to the internet you don't know what is happening. There's no way the North of Scotland is going to make the Scottish TV news either at the moment because the only news is the Commonwealth Games. So last night when I went onto Hebrides News I discovered why we had had no usable internet access.
What irritates me is not that BT had the problem but that they didn't tell their call-centre staff so many people wasted lots of time getting false information and new routers which were completely unnecessary. I spent 75 minutes whilst a very efficient and helpful lady in India did every test known to her and said there were no line faults that she could find (and who didn't patronise me when I told her that I'd done all the usual tests on my own equipment) before eventually referring the matter to a 'special unit' who would ring me back between 5 and 7pm the next day. They usually do. This time they didn't. Black mark BT. I've been a customer since the age of 26. You won't lose me over this but you certainly lost a lot of brownie points.
Communications fault black outs internet and maritime radio 23/7/14
Some 3,000 island homes and businesses have been hit by a major communications blackout over the past two days.
Faulty equipment at BT’s mainland telephone exchange at Gairloch resulted in a very poor quality signal being transmitted over the main microwave link from the mainland to a receiver at Holm, by Stornoway, which feeds into the islands broadband network.
The parts of Lewis - mainly around the Stornoway area - served by BT were hit with many users having no service at all while others suffered slow broadband speeds over the period.
BT pledged the broadband network would be repaired by Wednesday night.
A BT spokesman said: “A faulty card in the telephone exchange at Gairloch has resulted in a degraded broadband service on the radio link to Stornoway.
“Around 3,000 broadband-users in the Western Isles are affected.
“A replacement card has been sourced and is being couriered to Gairloch with an estimated time of arrival of around 5pm.
“We’d like to apologise for the current poor quality of the broadband service but we’re aiming to restore normal service within the next couple of hours.”
Important coastguard and maritime radio services for the west coast of Scotland were knocked out and Stornoway coastguard was unable to transmit weather and navigation warnings.
In case of an emergency at sea, volunteers coastguards were sent to prominent hills with hand-held radios and mobile phones to relay any distress messages or situation reports with the main coastguard control room in Stornoway.
Coastguards radio systems’ were back on air earlier on Wednesday but the island’s BT’s broadband links continued to be affected.
People paying fines by bank card at Stornoway Sheriff Court were turned away as their IT systems were down completely.
Many island businesses could not get on the internet to check e-mails or get in touch with clients.