Europe’s digital capital: Colt to double Dublin network to 300km of fibre

5 Oct 2018

© Boyan Georgiev/

Dublin is in the top five cities in the world for growth potential, says Colt CEO.

Colt Technology Services is to double its fibre network in Dublin from 150km of fibre around the city today to 300km by 2019.

The new network will have a capacity to carry 100Gbps of bandwidth.

‘The demand from OTTs like Facebook and from enterprises in general is exponential and we are moving to the terabit-per-second range in terms of what they are demanding’

The CEO of Colt Technology Services, Carl Grivner, told that the expansion is on the back of a major global roll-out that began two years ago. After an exercise of evaluating the top 250 cities in the world for growth potential, Dublin emerged in the top five.

As Dublin’s digital economy grows, Colt’s extended 100Gbps fibre network will give it access to a wider customer base in the greater Dublin area. With the west and north Dublin industrial areas experiencing a strong rise in occupancy and new builds, Colt will be able to provide high bandwidth solutions to new, planned and existing enterprises in the locations that need it.

The expansion follows on news recently that data centre giant Equinix has acquired a new site for €5m as well as a €150m expansion of Google’s data centre in west Dublin.

Dublin at the centre of the world for edge computing

Man leaning against railing with Dublin city in background.

Carl Grivner, CEO, Colt Technology Services. Image: John T Ohle

Colt’s existing network currently connects more than 350 enterprise buildings and 23 data centres around Dublin. The company’s global footprint connects 850 data centres and over 27,000 buildings across 28 countries.

The roll-out of the new fibre network has already begun and Grivner said that the company expects expansion to be completed by the end of 2019. He told that the move is in anticipation of greater demand for digital infrastructure from multinational customers with a presence in Dublin, as well as other Dublin-based customers

“We’ve been in Dublin 20 years and this is the first major expansion in that time frame. We are hitting the market at the right time.

“Three years ago, we embarked on a strategy of building a high-bandwidth network on a global basis. During that time, we looked at the top 250 cities on a global basis, focusing on economic growth, landing stations, multinational customers and we narrowed it down to 18 cities. In the end, Dublin came out in the top five cities we felt we would like to continue to grow in quite rapidly.”

Asked if Colt is eyeing potential expansions in other Irish cities where digital giants also have operations, Grivner said that Cork may see investment in the near future.

“We have a small presence in Cork today and our plan is to make the investment in Dublin first, see if it is successful and then decide if we are open to expanding in other cities.”

Grivner said that a key influencer on growth is the focus by companies on digital transformation and, ultimately, the need for speed.

“We are seeing high growth in anything above 1Gbps and that’s 40pc in terms of our overall growth. We only go where we are certain of growth and when you see the concentration of data centres in Dublin, you can be sure it is not going to plateau. If anything, we are going to start moving into the terabit-per-second [Tbps] realm as far as demands go.

“Telecoms has always been 10 years ahead of the hype curve, now it is being cut back to a year or two and the demand is real as opposed to fictitious.

“We are serving some of the biggest companies in the world and you have to be prepared for the likelihood that a start-up today could be [one of] tomorrow’s biggest over-the-top [OTT] players. The demand from OTTs like Facebook and from enterprises in general is exponential and we are moving to the Tbps range in terms of what they are demanding.

“Digital transformation is occurring and the next evolution of that will be the roll out of 5G,” said Grivner.

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