Cork becomes internet hub

25 May 2015
By Bryan T. Smyth

According to an announcement today (Monday) at the Cork Internet
eXchange (CIX) and it@cork event at County Hall, Cork will become a
global IP switching centre with fibre connectivity routing high speed
Internet traffic to and from USA, UK, Europe and Asia.

The Minister for Data Protection Dara Murphy T.D. said that this
announcement “had the potential to attract major global business
opportunities for Cork, positively impacting jobs and providing Cork
with the lowest latency to USA and Europe which would be a unique
selling point over other international regions.”

Executives from Hibernia Networks Inc., Arctic Fibre Inc. and
Ireland-France Subsea Cable Ltd. as well as Cork Internet eXchange
(CIX) addressed the breakfast meeting held at County Hall. The
ambitious plans to “break out” fibre connectivity in Cork from the US,
mainland Europe and potentially Toyko-London fibre project were met
with unanimous support from it@cork, Host in Ireland, Cork Chamber,
Enterprise Ireland and more than 120 business attendees.

The Hibernia Networks “Express Project”, which will connect Cork and
the South of Ireland directly to the US, has been progressing to
schedule and the subsea cable will land in Cork in early June 2015. It
will be terminated at the Cork Internet eXchange and go into active
service in September 2015.

While this fibre connectivity gives Cork the lowest latency* to the US
of any European country, there were even more positive developments
for Ireland’s global connectivity.

Doug Cunningham, Chairman of Ireland France Subsea Cable discussed his
intention to connect Ireland to mainland Europe, with a subsea fibre
cable from Cork to France (Lannion). Currently all Irish internet
traffic to Europe must cross the UK to reach the continent. The direct
connection to Europe would enable higher speed connectivity, lower
latency and enhanced resiliency for data traffic to and from Europe
and Eastern Europe. Combined with the Hibernian Networks “Express”
connection, the Ireland-France cable would mean that Cork would become
a central global IP routing station, with USA and Europe. This major
connectivity infrastructure will undoubtedly attract a number of data
centres and further position the Cork region ideally for foreign
direct investment.

“Today’s event was aptly entitled ‘Cork at a crossroads’,” said Jerry
Sweeney of Cork Internet eXchange (CIX), the Region’s largest data
centre and Internet eXchange. “Cork will be an intersection of some
of the most significant data connectivity; the Region will have an
enviable global connectivity network, which has the potential to
provide massive return in terms of jobs, FDI and fibre broadband. Cork
Internet eXchange is planning to peer with the New York International
Internet Exchange (NYI-IX) via the Express Project fibre. Cork
Internet eXchange will be the best commercial data centre in the world
for companies wishing to host digital assets under EU jurisdiction but
requiring low latency access to the North American market.”

Artic Fibre’s CEO Michael Cunningham shared his plans to deliver a
Tokyo – London fibre cable, which would strategically link East and
West with a high speed cable. Cork can potentially gain from this
plan thanks to the Ireland-France subsea cable and Hibernia Networks
points of intersection in Cork. Currently Artic Fibre are raising
investment for the Toyko-London connectivity which it is expected to
roll out between 2018 and 2020.

To close, Jerry Sweeney of CIX commented, “The reality that Cork will
be able to connect with Tokyo, Seattle and London via the new
superfast optical highway will enable Cork to develop its
international communication hub and promote the Cork Internet eXchange
as an independent centre for data exchange and develop Ireland as a
European Gateway.

Ireland is re-entering the world of international communications. Once
it was the gateway to the world in the telegraphic era, now with the
development of these new international superfast submarine cables
Ireland is again becoming the international gateway in the new
high-speed optical communication era”.

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