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Isle of Man connectivity future-proofed for decades as new subsea fibre optic cable goes live

Monday, 25 July 2022

A new multi-million-pound fibre optic cable running under the sea has further strengthened the Isle of Man’s connectivity to Ireland and the UK, with onward connections to continental Europe and the US.

The high-tech cable built with the latest high speed technology will enhance the Island’s existing infrastructure now and into the future, benefitting businesses and residents alike.

Alfred Cannan MHK, Chief Minister and Minister for Enterprise, commented: 

‘Access to global data networks through subsea infrastructure is critical for our future economic growth. Businesses place great importance in the quality of our off-island connectivity so I welcome the investment by Aqua Comms and its partners in this new subsea infrastructure, and am delighted to see the cable go live.

‘The development of sustainable telecommunications and off-island connectivity is one of the key priorities of the Island Plan and helps to create a supportive environment where the economy thrives.’

Irish-headquartered Connectivity Services provider Aqua Comms has worked closely with the Isle of Man Government to install the new Celtix-Connect 2 cable, as part of its wider strategy to develop the North Atlantic Loop. This installation is now complete, with 47 miles (75km) of fibre optic cable laid in Manx waters and connected to two landing points on the Isle of Man, in Port Erin and Port Grenaugh.

This multi-million-pound direct investment by Aqua Comms will improve the Isle of Man’s access to global data networks, ultimately delivering faster internet speeds and ensuring more resilient and reliable off-island connectivity.

Following the Isle of Man’s successful connection to the Celtix-Connect-2 subsea cable system, there are now a total of seven undersea cables connecting the Island to global data networks. The cables have enough capacity to future proof the Island’s connectivity. As 99% of global data travels in undersea cables it’s essential that the Island has access to multiple cables to ensure continued connectivity should a cable be damaged.

Richard Oliphant, Head of Digital Infrastructure and Telecomms for Digital Isle of Man, said:

‘Our connection to the Celtix-Connect 2 subsea cable is critically important for the Island’s communications in the decades ahead. From people using the internet, to someone swiping their credit card in a shop, to businesses of all shapes and sizes, this subsea infrastructure plays a vital role in delivering that connectivity.’

Kevin Foley, Chief Financial Officer of Aqua Comms, also commented: 

‘Aqua Comms is delighted to work with the Isle of Man Government to deliver reliability and resilience through a pair of cutting-edge new communications links. The new network will facilitate on-net direct connectivity from the Island to major data centre hubs in Europe and North America on a competitive carrier neutral basis.

‘Aqua Comms was particularly impressed with the Isle of Man’s Digital Agency, which played an important role within government in helping us to secure this project. We are excited to see how this enhanced connectivity further cements the Isle of Man as a leading hub for the technology industry.’

The cable provides open access connectivity and flexible capacity, enabling multiple service providers and mobile operators to use the network. This will ensure that the Island’s businesses and operators have access to international networks at competitive prices, further strengthening the Island’s reputation as an attractive and competitive destination to do business.

The installation of the subsea cable was a key commitment set out in the Department for Enterprise National Telecommunications Strategy, which was approved by Tynwald at its October 2018 sitting. The Strategy is available to view online.

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