Super-fast undersea cable to provide third of all world's internet lands in Blackpool
An underwater cable spanning the Atlantic Ocean made its way from New York to Blackpool today to provide the resort - and the whole UK - with super-fast new broadband.
Business and civic leaders gathered behind the tram station at Starr Gate to watch the fibre optic cable land on Blackpool beach, where it will be be connected to an existing underground network under the sand dunes towards the Enterprise Zone.
This will form part of the North Atlantic Loop, which will provide a third of the world's internet connection.
The multi-million pound cable spans from New York to New Jersey, then across the Atlantic Ocean to the west coast of Northern Ireland and Dublin.
It was brought in by boat at around 2.30pm, and will be installed tomorrow. From there, it will go to Newcastle, Denmark, and finally back to New York.
Lynn Williams, leader of Blackpool Council, 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, attracting all sorts of opportunities from a wide range of sectors such as contactless retailing, international education sharing, financial trading and online gaming."
Andy Hudson, chief network officer at Aqua Comms, which is installing the cable, 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.
"This new fibre connection into Blackpool is faster than many of the existing undersea UK cables which were laid around 15 to 20 years ago and which are now coming towards the end of their life. The combination of the shortest direct route to the USA and the newest technological assets and engineering available makes this a significant 30 year investiment which could benefit Blackpool."
WHAT OUR MPS SAID
Scott Benton, MP for Blackpool South, said: "It's an incredible opportunity for Blackpool. It's a real feather in the cap of the resort, having the quickest internet anywhere in the UK. The whole purpose of today is to showcase the opportunities this cable provides for businesses who can move into the Enterprise Zone and take advantage of the technology provided."
Mark Menzies, MP for Fylde, said: "I think it's extremely exciting. It's very rare that you get a fibre optic cable coming essentially from the other side of the Atlantic to arrive in your constituency but today's the day, and what a glorious day it is.
"This is something that presents huge opportunity. The fibre optic cable lands here, it gives the ability for ultra-fast data to travel from the other side of the Atlantic to the UK and being located in this part of the world actually gives you that split second advantage. I think what we all have to do now is to work with organisations to think how we can really use this asset to unlock investment in the area."