International connectivity project gets off the ground

6 Jan 2009

A new €30m project that promises to provide faster broadband at lower costs via a direct link to North America, and which will help Ireland attract more foreign direct investment, is to go ahead, said the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Eamon Ryan TD.

Called Project Kelvin, this is a cross-border venture in partnership with the Northern Ireland Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment and is co-financed by Interreg funding from the European Union.

Following a tender process announced last July, Hibernia Atlantic has won the contract to construct a fibre-optic submarine telecommunications cable, which will be brought ashore in Co Derry. The company is committed to completing construction no later than March next year and will operate the project until December 2018.

Further links will ensure Letterkenny and Monaghan, as well as Castleblayney, Drogheda and Dundalk, have direct international connectivity. Communications between Ireland and North America will be routed directly without having to use external networks, for example through London. Amongst the benefits will be faster response times at lower cost for high-capacity broadband.

 “Our economic fortunes will depend on our ability to connect and to compete internationally,” said Minister Ryan.

“This project will complement our outward connections already in place, making our international telecoms infrastructure more resilient. Information will be swiftly, cheaply and reliably transferred.”

Prices for connection will be benchmarked against other international telecoms hubs, such as Amsterdam and London.

“Project Kelvin will make Ireland, and particularly the north-west and Monaghan areas, a cost-effective base for international business,” said Minister Ryan.

By Sorcha Corcoran

Pictured: Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Eamon Ryan TD