Ireland has emerged as one of 2015's bandwidth growth spots, and the city of Cork is readying itself for a new era where it is no longer a backwater you have to get to via both London and Dublin. While we were all at Memorial Day picnics, they were hosting an event for no less than three submarine cable projects that may soon connect the Irish city to three continents without passing through either of those hubs. And along for the ride came some updates on the progress of those cable systems.
The Arctic Fibre project has somehow managed to stay afloat, and will now apparently be landing in Ireland as well. The first phase along the Alaskan shore is now planned to be completed in late 2016, the second phase in the Pacific is slated for late 2017, and the Arctic and North Atlantic part for late 2018.
There is an Ireland-France cable system now in the works that will cross some very busy waterways and connect Cork directly with Paris via Lannion on the French coast. The six-fibre-pair system will add some 90Tbps of connectivity to Ireland that doesn't pass through the UK.
And of course there is the Hibernia Express, which will be the first of the systems to actually come ashore. Hibernia's long-awaited low latency cable is only a few months away from completion now. It will feature a branch to Cork, hooking up to the rest of Hibernia's infrastructure further north on the island.
Direct connectivity to Asia, continental Europe, and North America will dramatically change the Irish bandwidth landscape. It's not often a European city gets to change its Tier status when it comes to connectivity -- the main rings all hook up the same key nodes, while all others backhaul to them. But should these new submarine cable systems come to fruition, Cork will definitely be moving up the ladder.