Enet connects Cork’s National Space Centre to 10GB internet

21 Apr 2021

Rory Fitzpatrick, CEO of the National Space Centre. Image: Claire Keogh

The network provider plans to grow the connection capacity to 100GB at the rural Cork site.

Ireland’s National Space Centre (NSC) in Cork now has a 10GB ethernet connection helping it to be a carrier-grade commercial teleport.

Open access network provider Enet has completed installation of the 10GB ethernet connection at the NSC in the first phase of a plan that aims to grow capacity to 100GB.

Based in the rural location of Elfordstown, Co Cork, the NSC is Europe’s most westerly teleport and Ireland’s only commercial ground station.

The site provides commercial broadcast services and ground control support for satellites and spacecraft, as well as academic research partnerships and space industry consulting.

Originally opened in 1984 as Elfordstown Earthstation, the facility was taken over in 2010 by NSC.

The refurbished site has grown from five initial antennas to 33 antennas on site in 2021. These range from a variety of dishes as small as 3.7 metres to the site’s flagship 32-metre dish, known as The Big Dish.

The site is also the location for a space campus that is home to more than a dozen Irish space start-ups and EU-headquartered space enterprises. One such start-up recently received funding from the European Space Agency for a new AI software robot.

NSC’s CEO, Rory Fitzpatrick, said increasing network capacity is the first step in “a major backbone upgrade” focused on low Earth orbit.

“Our rural location outside Midleton means we have a hugely advantageous position as Europe’s most westerly teleport. It also means that as we grow, we can face infrastructure delivery issues we could not overcome without the commitment of key partners like Enet.”

According to Enet, the 10GB connection links the NSC to London and represents a significant development in a rural location.

Peter McCarthy, CEO of Enet’s parent company Speed Fibre Group, said the connection demonstrates Enet’s ability to deliver a nationwide wholesale connectivity service.

“To be in a position to offer a 100GB connection as a phase-two option is also evidence of our ability to deliver scalability to enterprises right across the country – helping to facilitate their growth, which, in turn, supports the wider Irish economy,” he said.

Jenny Darmody is the editor of Silicon Republic