Blackpool connects to the North Atlantic Loop

Blackpool connects to the North Atlantic Loop

Better broadband is on the way to the Fylde Coast as Blackpool connects to the North Atlantic Loop – via a new international subsea fibre network. New York – Dublin – Isle of Man – BLACKPOOL – Newcastle – Denmark

Blackpool connects to the North Atlantic Loop, international subsea fibre network

Business and civic leaders met on 11 October 2020 at Blackpool’s shoreline to witness the connection being made. It’s a pioneering new initiative that will give the resort a huge competitive advantage as it seeks to attract more cutting-edge, tech-based industries to the North West coast.

North Atlantic Loop cable being floated to shore
North Atlantic Loop cable being floated to shore

The much-anticipated connection to a subsea, fibre optic, Irish Sea cable network will have the capability to deliver some of the world’s fastest, most resilient internet speeds. It secures Blackpool’s status as a key international route linking the UK to the rest of the world.

Just after 3pm, the crew of a ‘rear end barge’ landed a subsea fibre optical cable onto the beach. It connected to an existing ducting network laid under the sand dunes taking it to a dedicated cable landing station at Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone.

Diggers drag the cable to the connection point
Diggers drag the cable to the connection point

Here’s a short video, thanks to Blackpool Council and Aqua Comms –

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What is the North Atlantic Loop?

The North Atlantic Loop is made up of several undersea fibre cables. They connect the UK to the US and Northern Europe.

Map of the North Atlantic Loop that joins Blackpool
Map of the North Atlantic Loop that joins Blackpool

The cable landing in Blackpool is known as CeltixConnect-2. It’s a next generation, subsea fibre cable system that is part of the Aqua Comms network. It delivers a diverse, high capacity network connection to the USA and Northern Europe.

With Blackpool as a strategic landing in this global undersea communications system, it not only brings the best available internet capabilities to the Fylde Coast, but also future proofs the North and the rest of mainland UK.

Who is Building it?

This network is being built by Aqua Comms, owner and operator of their North Atlantic Loop fibres. It’s an Irish company and worldwide specialist in the building and operations of submarine cable systems.

The multi-million pound investment to connect Blackpool to the network has the potential to offer great value to the North of England.

Why is it Important?

The town can now offer faster transatlantic switching speeds to New York than via traditional routes like London.

<0.64 seconds, on a network route that has the capability to carry more than 1/3 of the world’s internet traffic.

The new fibre optic cable will support 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.

30 Year Investment

Andy Hudson, Chief Network Officer at Aqua Comms said: “The ongoing pandemic has shown us just how much the world relies on the internet in our daily lives both at home and at work. As our reliance on technology grows greater, the world of telecoms continues to change at a rapid pace. Internet connectivity needs to be secure yet agile, flexible and resilient. Nowhere is this more critical than in the transatlantic market, one of the busiest oceanic data routes in the world, linking North America to Northern Europe.

“This new fibre connection into Blackpool is faster than many of the existing undersea UK cables. They were previously laid around 15-20 years ago. They’re now coming towards the end of their life for operational or commercial reasons. The combination of the shortest, direct route to the USA, and the newest technological assets and engineering capabilities available on the market, makes this a significant 30+ year investment which could benefit Blackpool.”

Digital Blackpool

Leader of Blackpool Council is Cllr Lynn Williams. She said: “It’s been incredible to see first-hand the physical infrastructure involved. And to learn about the journey this unassuming cable takes to connect us digitally with friends and family around the world. Being connected to the North Atlantic Loop opens up so many business possibilities for a digital Blackpool. It will attract all sorts of opportunities from a wide range of sectors such as contactless retailing, international education sharing, financial trading and online gaming to name just a few.

“Blackpool’s new connectivity puts it at a major advantage compared to other UK locations. It’s testament to the town’s entrepreneurial spirit as it continues to build on its historic association with cutting-edge technology. It’s been dubbed the new Porthcurno* of the North. Not only because local businesses can reap the benefits through their internet service providers. But also because Blackpool’s digital advancement can and will, play an important role in Covid recovery strategies. And the Government’s Levelling Up Agenda. Spreading economic growth and development across the North, boosting the economy and creating skilled jobs for the future.” 

*Porthcurno, Cornwall – a beach just a few miles from Land’s End and a key site in global undersea communications.

Installing the Cable Station

On 28 August 2019, the cable station was installed at Blackpool Airport. It’s the switch that brings the data from the subsea cable to connect to shore. Thanks to Blackpool Council for these photos.

Installing the cable station for the North Atlantic Loop at Blackpool Airport
Installing the cable station for the North Atlantic Loop at Blackpool Airport
Installing the cable station for the North Atlantic Loop at Blackpool Airport
Installing the cable station for the North Atlantic Loop at Blackpool Airport
Installing the cable station for the North Atlantic Loop at Blackpool Airport

While you’re here…

Have a look at the homepage of the Live Blackpool website for more of the latest updates.

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