New subsea fibre-optic cable to connect Ireland and Nordics

25 Mar 2022

Image: © Kalyakan/Stock.adobe.com

Developed by Dublin’s Aqua Comms with help from Meta, the Havhingsten cable will offer low-latency networks to providers.

A new subsea cable system called Havhingsten will connect Ireland with the Nordics region and the UK, boosting network connectivity.

Announced yesterday (24 March), the now-constructed Havhingsten cable system was co-developed and funded by fibre networks builder Bulk, telecom company Aqua Comms, and Facebook parent company Meta.

Future Human

The new subsea route avoids “congested paths” around the English Channel and offers a low-latency network architecture for enterprises, carriers and hyperscalers in Ireland and the Nordics.

Aqua Comms is a Dublin-based company that specialises in subsea fibre-optic cable networks for the global content, cloud and carrier markets. It owns and operates the AEC-1 network, which connects New York, Dublin and London via a low-latency fibre-optic network.

Founded in 2014, the company was acquired last year by Digital 9 Infrastructure at a valuation of $215m.

What is the Havhingsten cable system?

The Havhingsten cable connects Ireland with the Nordics and UK using a novel aluminium-powered cable that allows for a higher number of fibre pairs per cable and increased reliability when compared to traditional copper cables.

The choice of aluminium also helps with manufacturing efficiency and cost reduction because of the variable availability and higher price of copper. It also has improved resistance to hydrogen penetration, an element which is unfavourable to the operation of optical fibre in ocean water.

Havhingsten was constructed by Alcatel Submarine Networks, and it was installed using a jet-assisted burial plough in the Irish and North Seas that helped bury the cable deep enough for increased protection in a challenging seabed environment.

New connections

As part of its ownership of Havhingsten, Aqua Comms also launched its CeltixConnect-2 (CC-2) and North Sea Connect (NSC) systems today. CC-2 will connect key data hubs in Ireland and the UK, including the Isle of Man, and boosts the connection between the two countries.

Meanwhile, NSC is a new route connecting the UK and the Nordics, including the Stellium data centre at Digital 9’s SeaEdge-1 in Newcastle and Blaabjerg in Denmark – which also hosts Aqua Comms’ AEC-2 transatlantic cable system.

Together, the two systems will combine to provide regional connectivity to Aqua Comms’ AEC-1 and AEC-2 transatlantic cables to improve connectivity between the US, Ireland, the UK and the Nordics.

The 5,536km AEC-1 cable runs from Shirley in Long Island to Killala in Co Mayo and was readied for service in 2016. It has dual diverse backhauls to Dublin to reach the Irish Sea and across the UK to London.

Chris Bayly, CCO of Aqua Comms, said that the addition of the new systems marks “an important milestone” for Aqua Comms.

“By connecting Ireland, the UK and the Nordics, Aqua Comms is bringing its industry-leading connectivity services to these key growth markets whilst also enhancing its transatlantic footprint and connectivity between the US and Europe,” he said.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic

editorial@siliconrepublic.com