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Residents on Scalpay are back online after nearly two months of internet service disruption.

Scalpay Community Council contacted Angus MacNeil MP to alert him to the disruption faced by around 20 households who were affected by an ongoing broadband problem.

The disruption to service was causing problems for those working from home due to Covid-19 restrictions and for local businesses.

Kenny Macleod, Secretary of Scalpay Community Council, and one of those affected, said: “After weeks of being given different stories and being told it was fixed, we got in touch with our MP, Mr MacNeil, and are very grateful for his intervention which has undoubtedly speeded up the resolution of our problems.  If he hadn’t intervened and got the engineers onto the ferry, we would probably still be waiting for it to be fixed. 

“We are all hugely dependant on a good, reliable internet connection and not having it for so long caused lots of problems. Hopefully now these are resolved.”

Mr MacNeil contacted Openreach to try to push forward a solution and was very pleased when it was confirmed to him that a team was set to travel to the island imminently to work on this issue.  Openreach then contacted Mr MacNeil for assistance due to the difficulties they were facing in securing a ferry booking to the island so Mr MacNeil then contacted Calmac to stress the urgency of the situation and a ferry booking was made.

A team carried out works and although not all issues have been overcome, households have now been reconnected.  The engineers replaced the dishes on the 18Ghz radio link at both ends, but they are still waiting on parts for the 32g link which need to be replaced.

Additional works are due to be carried out to increase speeds when parts arrive, however Openreach state there are no live faults in this area and services are now operating as normal.  Openreach are also looking at providing additional weatherproofing to try and stop the problems occurring again.

Mr MacNeil said: “I am very pleased that I was able to assist the community on Scalpay in moving towards a resolution to this problem which was causing disruption to everyday life and was understandably frustrating for residents.  I cannot fix all problems which constituents raise with me, but I would encourage people to get in touch and I will do all I can.”