New ‘Havfrue’ subsea cable to connect US to Denmark and Ireland

16 Jan 2018

Subsea cable inspection boat. Image: Korn Srirawan/Shutterstock

The demand for hyperscale capacity and connectivity continues to grow.

Irish submarine cable operator Aqua Comms has joined a consortium to build a subsea cable system that will connect the US to Ireland, Denmark and Norway.

At present, Aqua Comms operates Ireland’s first dedicated subsea fibre-optic network connecting New York, London and Dublin.

The ‘mermaid’ cable

The firm has now joined the Havfrue consortium, which will own and operate the new Havfrue cable system connecting New Jersey to Ireland and Denmark with future connectivity potential in Norway. ‘Havfrue’ means ‘mermaid’ in Danish.

The first cable system to connect the North Atlantic to mainland Northern Europe in close to two decades, it’s expected to be operational by the final quarter of 2019.

Aqua Comms will also market and sell capacity services and raw spectrum on its portion of the Havfrue cable system under the brand name  America Europe Connect-2 (AEC-2) as complementary to its existing transatlantic cable, America Europe Connect-1 (AEC-1), running between New York and Killala in Co Mayo, Ireland.

Havfrue cable a response to demand

CEO of Aqua Comms Nigel Bayliff said: “Aqua Comms is delighted to be investing as a part of the consortium for the Havfrue cable system connecting the US, Ireland and Denmark.

“The demand for hyperscale capacity and connectivity linking North America with Northern Europe cannot be overestimated, and the combination of AEC-1 [and] AEC-2 subsea cable systems, facilitated by the construction of Havfrue, will deliver reliability and resilience at an auspicious time, especially in view of the meteoric rise of the digital economy taking place in Scandinavia.”

Steen Hommel, director of Invest in Denmark, said the country was proud to welcome Aqua Comms and the other consortium members to the country. He added: “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs couldn’t be happier about this investment.

“Landing a brand new, top-of-the-line fibre cable on the west coast of Jutland will further cement Denmark’s connectivity to North America.”

Google Cloud a major subsea player

Google Cloud is one of the members of the Havfrue consortium, as well as Facebook, Bulk Infrastructure and Aqua Comms. Google Cloud is participating in the Havfrue project to build capacity in its North Atlantic systems.

Google Cloud fibre cable project map

Google Cloud fibre cable project map. Image: Google

As well as the Havfrue project, Google Cloud is also involving itself in some other major subsea undertakings around the world. The Curie cable, named after scientist Marie Curie, will be a private cable connecting Chile to Los Angeles.

Curie will be the first subsea cable to land in Chile in almost 20 years and will serve as Chile’s largest data pipe once it is operational. Work on the Curie will commence in 2019.

The HK-G (Hong Kong-Guam) cable is a collaboration between Google Cloud, RTI-C and NEC. It will create multiple scalable paths to Australia, with customers expected to see improved capacity and lower latency to major hubs in Asia and increased capacity at Google Cloud’s Hong Kong region.

These major developments show the global potential for connectivity and smooth data flows will take a leap forward in the near future.

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects