By Rory Reynolds
A BUNGLING workman wiped out email and internet connection across the entire Scottish Parliament network – after slicing through a cable while digging a hole in the MIDLANDS.
IT experts were battling to restore internet connection and email for MSPs, officials and research teams in Edinburgh and every linked constituency office across Scotland.
Technical teams were desperately trying to find ways to restore links with the outside world after a utilities company cut through an internet cable 250 miles away in a village near Birmingham.
Officials said that email accounts were experiencing “severe delays” while MSPs and aides couldn’t use Google or even access the Scottish Parliament’s own homepage.
Constituency offices across Scotland were also crippled by the technical fault which pole-axed suppliers Cable & Wireless.It meant staff were unable to check committee papers, answer queries from their constituents or wade through emails.
Even the Scottish Parliament’s official spokesman was forced to answer journalist’s queries about the communications crisis over the phone – because his email was down too.
He said: “We’ve been advised by Cable & Wireless, our internet service provider, that the interruption to our internet access is a result of a severed cable caused by utilities contractors carrying out work in the Solihull area.
“The problem is affecting a number of the company’s customers and we are working to resolve the problem as soon as possible.
“The break has caused an interruption to internet access and has caused delays to email services.
“The interruption began late morning and Cable & Wireless are working to restore the services to the parliament.”
One furious parliamentary researcher working in a constituency office said: “The internet has been down since before lunch.
“Even the Parliament website is down, so I can’t check upcoming committee papers.
“I think it’s all of the constituency offices, as well as anyone who has remote access to the parliament.
“To be honest we’ve lost the best part of a day’s work.”
Michael McMahon, Scottish Labour’s business manager and MSP for Hamilton and Bellshill said: “The Scottish Parliament should not be allowed to grind to halt because a workman in Birmingham has put their spade through a cable.
“The staff in my office are deeply frustrated. They have been unable to communicate with constituents or carry out important work.
“There should be a backup system in place so that MSPs can serve their constituents and provide them with the service that they deserve.”
The blunder comes less than a month after Finance Secretary John Swinney and BT announced plans for a £3 million broadband upgrade in 50 areas of Scotland blighted by poor service.