New comms network would link Blackpool with New York in 0.06s

New proposals for a submarine fibre optic cable system could see Blackpool linked with New York in just 0.06s, giving it faster connectivity than London. The seaside resort is also set to become one of the first locations in the UK to benefit from 5G connectivity.

If the new multi-million-pound plans come to fruition, 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.

Blackpool will become part of the North Atlantic Loop that delivers a resilient, diverse, high capacity network connecting the USA with Ireland, the UK and Northern Europe.

The planning application for the Meet Me station is due to be lodged with Blackpool Council planning department later this week.

Andy Hudson, Aqua Comms chief networks officer, 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.”

The council is extremely excited by the competitive advantage and the economic possibilities that the new subsea cable opens up.

Cllr Simon Blackburn, leader of Blackpool Council, 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.”

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 £2.7m 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 added: "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 per cent of properties served with full fibre connectivity (300Mbit+) so Blackpool would be at the forefront of being able to provide superior digital technology."