“Project Kelvin was an important and critical infrastructure project for the Company and the clean execution of the project and delivery of the network was one we as an organization were very proud of and David Smith and his team were instrumental in making that happen”.
Bjarni Thorvardarson, Chief Executive Officer Hibernia Networks
Project Kelvin was a joint initiative between the Republic of Ireland’s Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (DCENR) and Northern Ireland’s Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI) and was co-funded through the EU INTERREG IVA programme. The Project’s overall objective was to further attract business to the island of Ireland, provide the country with resiliency and offer further economic stimulus.
Project kelvin was a multi-million-euro cable build project, providing the island of Ireland with its first direct 40Gbps network. This cable connected with Hibernia Atlantic’s terrestrial fibre optic ring deployed to 13 towns and cities, including Armagh, Ballymena, Belfast, Coleraine, Londonderry/Derry, Omagh, Portadown, Strabane, Letterkenny, Castleblayney, Dundalk, Drogheda and Monaghan. Completed in March 2010, the cable provides a direct communications link from the 13 locations in the region to Europe and North America.
Technology / Business Solution
Project Kelvin build included both an undersea cable linking Hibernia Atlantic’s most northern TransAtlantic route directly to Ireland as well as a terrestrial cable linking 13 towns/cities.
In June of 2009 the underwater cable landed at Portrush, which linked the island of Ireland with North America and Europe. We then went on to complete the terrestrial route simultaneously linking Letterkenny, Drogheda, Castleblaney and Monaghan. On completion there was an extra route out of Dublin and an additional cable coming into and out of Ireland for exceptional capacity and back-up support. This also allowed us to carry bandwidth directly to North America, avoiding the common and congested routes around London and New York waterways.
The most innovative aspect of the project was the use of a new submarine cable which connected terrestrial infrastructure to an existing transatlantic submarine cable. The new cable’s landing point was on the north coast of the island of Ireland, avoiding the existing telecommunications networks concentrated in Belfast and Dublin. To reduce the environmental impact on the shore, a 600-metre directional drill was installed by digging from behind the beach, under the sea wall and into the North Channel.
The larger of the two vessels is the CS Sovereign, a Global Marine cable ship which laid the cable. The smaller vessel is the Margaret Sinclair, from which divers supported the final operations in shallower waters. The near shore, submarine cables are buried a few meters deep in the sand to keep them safe from anchors and fishing boats.
Once the build was completed in March 2010, businesses operating into and within the island of Ireland were able to avail of direct, low latency connectivity to Canada, USA and mainland Europe at competitive pricing. Northern Ireland also benefited from having a super-fast fiber optic ring encircling it. It only takes one millisecond for data to travel completely around the ring.