€30m transatlantic fibre cable comes ashore at Portrush

22 Jun 2009

The €30m ‘Project Kelvin’ fibre cable that will link Ireland to 24,000km of undersea cable linking Ireland with the US, Canada and UK came ashore at Portrush, Co Antrim this weekend.

The fibre project, supported by €30m in public funding, was brought ashore by Hibernia Atlantic, parent company of Magnet Networks.

‘Project Kelvin’ is a joint co-operation project between the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment in Belfast and the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, which is part financed by the EU under the North-South cross-border co-operation programme.

The Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Eamon Ryan TD, said the investment will help to create jobs, as it boosts Ireland’s international connectivity and enhances its attractiveness for next-generation industries such as software, digital media, biotech and green IT.

“The nature of communications is developing apace and we must be a part of this,” said Minister Ryan. “Today, Ireland links into a new international communications network. This will facilitate fast, low-cost communications, which will allow us to connect and compete internationally. It will help to secure our future economic successes, attracting inward investment and creating new jobs.”

The Kelvin international telecommunications cable will be connected by high-capacity fibre to Letterkenny, Monaghan, Castleblayney, Dundalk and Drogheda, and it will also have points of presence in several locations across the border.

“This is an historic milestone for both Northern Ireland and for Project Kelvin. The new cable will connect Northern Ireland, for the first time, directly to North America and greatly improve connectivity with Europe,” said Northern Ireland’s Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment in Northern Ireland, Dr Arlene Foster.

“When combined with the new terrestrial telecommunications infrastructure, currently under construction across Northern Ireland, it will put us at the heart of the global economy,” Foster added.

“In these difficult economic times, telecommunications has an important role to play both in helping our companies continue to compete, and in providing access to new and emerging markets, in preparation for the upturn in the world economy,” she said.

Following a competitive tendering process, the contract to construct and operate the Kelvin project was awarded to Hibernia Atlantic, which is the largest privately held, diverse transatlantic telecoms cable provider.

The company’s transatlantic and terrestrial cable network offers over 70 points of presence throughout Canada, US, Ireland, the UK and mainland Europe on over 24,000km of optical fibre network.

Looking forward to the further construction of the link towards Dublin, Minister Ryan said: “Ireland is now well established on the world telecoms map and is quickly advancing in terms of ICT, digital and data-intensive industries.

“Project Kelvin will allow us to take advantage of our westerly European location, to connect quickly and more easily with our North American and European counterparts. It is good news not just for the wider economy, but for local business too,” the Minister concluded.

By John Kennedy

Pictured: Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Eamon Ryan TD

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years