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Iceland left in the cold after cable cut

Rats and diggers love broadband cable lines

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

Many companies on Iceland were again without broadband internet last week when the Farice Line, a 1400 km long fibre optic line connecting Iceland to Europe through the Faroe Islands and Scotland, was cut near Inverness. Apparently, a digger accidentally severed it.

According to Iceland Online it is the 17th time in less than two years that the main communications link to and from Iceland has been cut. On two earlier occasions rats had chewed through the line. Most interruptions lasted between three and nine hours.

Gudmundur Gunnarsson, manager of Farice, admits that the frequent disruptions are intolerable. He says that the route of the cable from the north of Scotland down to Edinburgh is not marked well enough and that about two thirds of the land route will be strengthened.

That’s not good enough for many local companies, who already have moved their hosted web services out of Iceland, including anti-virus expert Fridrik Skúlason, computer games company CCP and the search engine dohop. Telecommunications company OgVodafone is looking into connecting Iceland to the internet again via satellite.

Iceland's neighbour Greenland, on the other hand, is a lot happier. The 57,000 inhabitants of the Arctic island will get fast ADSL2+ connections with speeds of up to 24 megabits per second by the end of the year. Tele Greenland just signed a deal with Siemens, who will deliver the infrastructure. Until recently, many Greenlanders relied on expensive and often awkward satellite links.

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