Aurora Telecom in €35m fibre roll-out to link Ireland’s cities and towns

15 Nov 2018

Image: © Vimolsiri/

Data centres are seeking connection to gas networks for on-site generation from natural and renewable gas.

Aurora Telecom has begun work on the final portion of a second Dublin to Cork fibre optic link as part of a €35m dark fibre investment plan.

The company, which is part of Gas Networks Ireland, is focused on building a network that will open up new regional job creation opportunities from Irish and multinational investments.

‘The completion of this additional Dublin to Cork link will be a major step forward in terms of Ireland’s connectivity’

Scheduled for completion by Q3 2019, the new section of network will serve Cork, Waterford, Kilkenny, Carlow and Kildare.

Closing the circle

When completed, Aurora will operate a fully resilient national ring network linking Dublin with the midlands, west, south and east, providing future-proof capacity to meet long-term broadband requirements for the towns and cities along its route.

“With this new development, Gas Networks Ireland and Aurora are ensuring that companies seeking resilient high-capacity data networks can now choose locations not only in Dublin but throughout the country while retaining the same level of national and international connectivity,” explained Denis O’Sullivan, managing director of Gas Networks Ireland.

“The completion of this additional Dublin to Cork link will be a major step forward in terms of Ireland’s connectivity. Not only will it create opportunity for businesses in those cities, but it will strengthen the resilience of the entirety of our dark fibre network.  Aurora already facilitates the connectivity needs of some of the largest tech companies in the world, based in Ireland. This investment will further strengthen Ireland’s position as a technology hub.”

Dark fibre is critical to data centre expansion

Aurora operates what it claims is the most modern dark fibre infrastructure in Ireland and has been the partner of choice for providers establishing sub-sea transatlantic fibre connectivity to Ireland. Along with a national network, Aurora operates an extensive Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) in the Dublin area.

The fibre network is critical infrastructure, which enables large-scale telecoms operators, such as mobile and telecoms companies and large data centres, to transmit vast amounts of data.

Because much of the network has been designed to sit alongside the national gas network, it is subject to regular screening to monitor for interference – crucial for fintech and media firms where even a minute of downtime could result in significant losses.

The network’s proximity to the gas network also facilitates a secure energy supply, another key driver for data centre location. With grid connection proving increasingly challenging, many data centres are seeking connection to the gas network to allow on-site generation from natural gas and renewable gas.

The data centre industry is estimated to be worth €7.18bn to the Irish economy since 2010, according to a report by Grant Thornton and IDA Ireland. Currently, over 50pc of Ireland’s electricity is generated using natural gas.

Aurora Telecom has 885km of fibre network around Ireland with an additional 270km under construction. Its fibre network extends across 15 counties in a ring topology and interconnects with all the major urban centres in Ireland as well as sub-sea interconnectors.

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