Blackpool will connect to New York in under 0.06 seconds, digitally, via the next generation subsea fibre optic cable network linking the USA with European Financial markets, giving the town faster transatlantic Internet connectivity than London.
Business leaders hope that the multi-million pound investment by Aqua Comms, an Irish company and worldwide specialist in the building and operations of submarine cable systems, will land the new fibre optic cable at a ‘meet me point’ at Blackpool Airport in September 2019, as part of the North Atlantic Loop that delivers a resilient, diverse, high capacity network connecting the USA (New York and New Jersey) with Ireland, the UK and Northern Europe.
This transatlantic system supports the needs of the Pan-Atlantic hyperscale providers that underpin today’s international cloud industry for global carriers, cloud-based networks, Internet service providers, data centres, IT companies and the global media.
Aqua Comms’ Chief Networks Officer, Andy Hudson, said: “When the opportunity came for Aqua Comms to be involved in another cable build in the North Atlantic, we jumped at it. We worked with consortium partners Facebook, Google and Bulk Infrastructure, a data centre operator based in Norway, to develop the cable system. We are building a new cable system across the Irish Sea called CeltixConnect-2 that will run into Blackpool then to Newcastle and Denmark and will create a series of ring-based structures between North America and Northern Europe called the North Atlantic Loop, providing high level security, flexibility and reliability.”
Leader of Blackpool Council, Cllr Simon Blackburn, said: “Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone is set to become one of the newest gateways on the North Atlantic Loop and is perfectly positioned to tap into some amazing opportunities in the digital, creative and technology markets that up until now have not been available to us. The council is extremely excited by the competitive advantage and the economic possibilities that the new subsea cable opens up and we are exploring all opportunities to maximise the ‘meet me point’ at the Enterprise Zone for the benefit of the local economy.”
Kate Shane, Head of Blackpool Cluster at Merlin Entertainments Group, said: “This is a massive opportunity for the town. Blackpool is unique in lots of ways and there are many positive and exciting projects in the pipeline, but this new digital opportunity is a real game changer, placing Blackpool firmly on the map with a competitive edge over other locations in a fast-paced digital world.”
5G connectivity for businesses and residents
Blackpool is also one of the first locations in the country to benefit from a multi-million pound investment that will deliver the fastest, most reliable Internet connection on the global market and be one of the first UK towns and cities to benefit from 5G technology.
The council has secured £2.7 million of government funding to upgrade and activate fibre optic cables that run the length of the coast’s tramline, through the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s Funding agreement (DCMS). 5G is fifth generation technology and the next step up for mobile phone and Internet connections.
Cllr Simon Blackburn continued: “We are delighted to have secured a government award that allows us to activate the fibre optic infrastructure which is already in place along the whole length of the tramway from Starr Gate to Fleetwood and will connect into Hillhouse Technology Enterprise Zone in Thornton.
“This significant development will enable Blackpool over the next two years to unlock a state-of-the-art fibre network for the benefit of both residents and business as well as improving connectivity to public sector sites. The Fylde Coast, including the two Enterprise Zones and the new Conference Centre, will get some of the fastest broadband in the UK and businesses will be able to reap the benefits of fast, resilient connectivity which will support economic development and our drive to attract more inward investment into Blackpool.”
“The UK as a whole has less than 4% of properties served with full fibre connectivity (300Mbit+) so Blackpool would be at the forefront of being able to provide superior digital technology. There are an estimated 30,000 properties within range of the fibre optic infrastructure. Working through a fibre-sharing co-operative, Internet service providers will be able to build out the network to individual properties. Full fibre services from broadband co-operative members will be available from 2020 and local businesses will be able to register for DCMS Full Fibre Voucher Scheme to spend with broadband co-op members.”