Highlands & Islands

Slow broadband frustrates Skye businesses

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Image caption Residents in some parts of Skye have complained of internet outages and reduced connection speeds

Some businesses on Skye have gone back to using post instead of the internet after becoming frustrated by slow broadband speeds.

There was a total network loss in the north west of the island at the end of last year followed by reduced speeds.

Hundreds of islanders have been sharing their experiences of connection problems on Facebook, when available.

BT said it has resolved a fault that affected broadband on parts of Skye and was planning to upgrade an exchange.

Brian Smith, from Glendale in Skye, started the Facebook campaign.

He told BBC Alba that some parts of the island were to be given access to superfast broadband, while other areas were being ignored.

Mr Smith said: "What we would like to see is the restoration of services the way they were before the last crash.

"I know from speaking to the engineers there is a major, major problem involving a transmission tower to the mainland core fibre network. That has to be changed."

'Becoming untenable'

Russell Sherwood, who runs a photography business in Harlosh, said the connection problems have hampered his work.

He has been putting files on disks and mailing them to customers.

Mr Sherwood said: "It takes a couple of days but is faster than trying to do it by broadband.

"Working from home is becoming a situation which is becoming untenable for us because we cannot operate at the efficiency that is required."

'Water droplets'

A spokesman for BT said: "On Hogmanay BT riggers fixed an intermittent fault at the Scoval radio station which serves the Dunvegan area.

"This was a very complicated fault to diagnose and poor weather conditions exacerbated the time taken to repair it.

"The fault was caused by small levels of rainwater entering the building where the cables run between the microwave radio dishes located on the mast and the equipment in the building.

"Water droplets fell onto the radio equipment used to carry broadband to Dunvegan, causing it to fail."

Several pieces of equipment have been replaced.

The spokesman said BT also plans to replace kit at its Urray exchange near Muir of Ord, one of the broadband routes between the north of Skye and Inverness.