Web surfers on Bute were left without internet access for several hours on Wednesday morning.
The problem had the greatest impact on wireless internet access, although some customers’ hard-wired routers were also affected.
The fault, which appears to have affected much of the west of Scotland, was first noted at 6.20am.
An announcement on the service status page of the BT Business website stated: “We’re really sorry but we’ve got a problem at the moment in the Irvine Bourtree area, which means that some of our customers will be having trouble getting online. We’re trying to fix the problem as quickly as we can.”
The same announcement warned that in 15 different dialling code areas across the west and south-west of Scotland, from as far afield as Killearn, Dumfries, Hamilton and Inveraray, as well as large parts of Glasgow, could be affected by the fault.
On Bute, some customers with non-wireless broadband - including The Buteman - experienced no interruption in service, while mobile internet signals appeared to be unaffected.
Mike Blair, a presenter with local internet radio station Radio Bute, told us about the problem just after 8am, and after we put out an appeal for information via Facebook, several more Bute residents got in touch to tell us they were having, or had had, problems connecting to EE, AOL, BT and Sky wireless services.
John Rushworth, who said he wasn’t a wi-fi user, said the problem highlighted the difficulty of delivering 21st-century internet access in remote and rural areas.
“Our exchange is way behind major cities and we piggy back off BT where other providers install in BT exchange,” he said.
“It is why we pay more than the mainland. I pay 10 quid a month extra compared to not living on Bute.
“If you want details of how we are on the dark ages, then go to www.samknows.com and pop in Rothesay and you’ll see why we live in past.
“Having been on the internet for over 20 years I have long campaigned for city equivalent technologies to empower rural areas. My head hurts from banging it against a brick wall for that long.”
Wi-fi access began to return on Bute shortly before 10am, although Radio Bute station manager Graham Leonard, who also runs the Cannon House Hotel in the town, told The Buteman shortly before midday that he still had no signal at the hotel.
Rothesay resident Dino Zavaroni commented on our Facebook page that wireless had “just been restored” to the Bush area of the town at 1.40pm.
As this article was published the problem was still featuring as an ‘ongoing issue’ at the BT Business website, with an expected resolution time of 12 midday.
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