RTÉ invests in fibre connectivity to US and Europe

24 May 2010

State broadcaster RTÉ has signed a deal with Hibernia Media to enable programme makers in the US and Europe to send content and collaborate real-time via state-of-the-art fibre communications.

Hibernia Media, a subsidiary of Ken Petersen’s Hibernia Atlantic, will use the cable brought ashore in Northern by the €30m Project Kelvin, to enable media companies from Europe to the US to access fibre to transmit TV news services and programmes.

The Hibernia Media network provides RTÉ with secure connectivity from major media hubs throughout Europe and the United States via its northern transatlantic low latency route; this routing is vital to the delivery of high quality video and streaming feeds.

Future Human

By leveraging Hibernia Atlantic’s Ireland network, which connects Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland directly to Europe and North America, RTÉ is able to link its Dublin broadcasting centre to the European Parliament in Brussels, as well as to the BT Tower in London, along with high capacity connections from global media and broadcasting entities such as the BBC

The added capacity also connects RTÉ’s Dublin facility securely across the Atlantic to Washington, DC, where it connects to major United States’ news feeds.

Hibernia Atlantic’s transatlantic and terrestrial cable network offers more than 70 points of presence throughout Ireland, Canada, the US, the UK and mainland Europe on more than 24,000km of optical-fibre network. The fibre-optic transatlantic cable system owned by Hibernia was originally laid by 360 Networks at a cost of €900m.

It was acquired by Ken Peterson’s Columbia Ventures several years ago for a fraction of that sum at just US$18m after 360 Networks filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US.

Project Kelvin

In June, the network was augmented by the €30-m ‘Project Kelvin’ fibre cable that will link Ireland to 24,000km of undersea cable connecting Ireland with the US, Canada and the UK when it came ashore at Portrush, Co Antrim.

Project Kelvin, supported by €30-m in public funding, is a joint co-operation project between the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment in Belfast and the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, which is partly financed by the EU under the North-South cross-border co-operation programme.

The direct transatlantic cable will give North American companies operating in Ireland greater cost control for connectivity by eradicating expensive connections via the UK or Europe to Ireland, which up to now has been their only option.

Huge opportunity for RTÉ

Speaking with Siliconrepublic.com, Fergus Innes of Hibernia Atlantic said the deal with RTÉ is a big opportunity for the operator and will allow it to pursue similar opportunities in Ireland, the UK and on mainland Europe.

“The network enables us to deliver media broadcast services and financial services.”

He said in the US, the company has secured contracts with broadcaster ESPN to provide links between programme producers and distributors.

“Everything is being driven by the applications. Consumers of content want higher capacity services and want to do more with the medium leading to increases in demand for ethernet and peering points.

“Media producers and financial companies want 100pc uptime.”

He said the Project Kelvin contract creates 13 points of presence on both sides of the border and allows services to run at speeds of up to 40Gbps.

“The availability of this capacity and dark fibre is going to be key to the future of firms that have invested in Ireland and who will continue to do so. Firms like Microsoft say the availability of high capacity bandwidth and an educated talent pool are huge benefits of Ireland as a place to do business,” Innes said.

By John Kennedy

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