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24000 km Transatlantic Fibre Optic Cable Lands In Ireland

A fibre-optic cable that could become vital for Ireland's telecommunications ambitions has reached the country from North America during the weekend and has already been hailed as a historic milestone.

The 24,000 km cable linking forms part of Project Kelvin, a £25 million endeavour carried out by US company Hibernia Atlantic and partly funded by the European Union Development Fund and the Irish Government.

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster told the BBC that "The new cable will connect Northern Ireland, for the first time, directly to North America and greatly improve connectivity with Europe [and] when combined with the new terrestrial telecommunications infrastructure, currently under construction across Northern Ireland, it will put us at the heart of the global economy".

The cable will connect Belfast, Derry, Coleraine and Armagh in the North and Letterkenny, Monaghan, Castleblaney, Dundalk, and Drogheda in the Republic as well as Southport in the UK. The cable network will be operational in March 2010 and will introduce faster and cheaper communications for businesses and consumers alike.

The Communications Minister Eaermon Ryan is adamant that Project Kelvin will be instrumental in attracting investment and enhancing Ireland's international status as a technology hub.

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Our Comments

Ireland has been hit by the full force of the recession and its economy could do with some good news like this one. The cable will only come into operation next year when, hopefully, the first green shoots will have appeared in Belfast and the rest of Ireland.

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Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.