A subsea telecoms cable, known as IRIS, has been installed between Galway and Iceland. The new cable, landing in Galway, will provide direct high-capacity links to Iceland with onward connectivity to Northern Europe via Denmark. The cable system will greatly increase capacity and diversity of internet connections to Ireland.
Ireland is actively pursuing a strategy to be a ‘Gateway to Europe’ for subsea telecoms cables. The State is poised to become a key international connectivity hub between North America and Europe.
Improvements in digital connectivity contribute to faster economic growth, more job creation, improved access to public services and expanded markets. Two key infrastructure elements underpin a country’s digital connectivity: the international connectivity network; and the domestic connectivity network.
Speaking at the cable landing ceremony on Ballyloughnane beach in Galway, Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan TD, said, “the IRIS cable enhances Ireland’s digital connectivity internationally, providing the essential factors needed by businesses to be able to compete globally and attract investment. This direct, high-capacity route to Iceland and through to Northern Europe provides opportunities for all businesses to extend their market reach. It’s part of the new industrial revolution – one that combines high quality, digital infrastructure with renewable technology, infrastructure and skills, helping to ensure that Ireland stays ahead of both the digital and climate curves and maintains its competitive advantage as a clean, innovative, secure and open economy.”
Minister of State with responsibility for Communications and Circular Economy, Ossian Smyth TD, also welcomed the cable investment, and commented, “this is a landmark in the history of Irish communications. Ireland has been an intercontinental communications hub since 1858 when the first transatlantic cable linking London and New York was routed through Ireland.”
“This is the first day that a subsea cable has connected to Ireland that is not linked to the UK or North America. This is the start of a strategic move by Ireland to connect directly to Northern and Southern Europe. Ireland is now open for business to further subsea cables. These new connections will increase resilience and reduce latency. They provide the infrastructure needed for the hundreds of thousands of people employed in Ireland in the ICT and pharmaceutical sectors.”
The Government’s strategy in this area will ensure increased capacity to meet the demand for digital and data services into the future, as well as increased diversity in subsea telecoms cable routes – to ensure network resilience and to safeguard international connectivity in the event of a route failure.
In the context of the security of critical infrastructure in Europe, the landing station diversity in Ireland is particularly advantageous, because the cable routes come from multiple directions, thereby minimising the risk of simultaneous failure.
The IRIS cable is owned and operated by Farice (a company fully owned by the Icelandic Government which contracted SubCom, a global subsea fibre optic cable system supply company, to install the cable system).