How submarine cables make Ireland attractive for investment



Mike Hollands of Digital Realty looks at the undersea cable landscape and why it is such an important sector for Ireland.

As the world becomes more connected than ever, undersea cables have become a vital network for data traveling around the world.

These long cables are found on the ocean floor and send data as pulses of light within thin strands of cables, or optical fibers, within the cable.

There have been many major infrastructure moves in the submarine cable industry in recent years to meet the growing demand for data.

This same week, Google announced its plan to build a new submarine cable between the United States and Argentina, which is expected to begin operations in 2023.

This follows two other cables built by Google and Facebook between Asia and the US.

According to Mike Hollands, senior director of market development, at data center giant Digital Realty, there are more than 400 undersea cables around the world.

“As organizations bring new technologies and solutions like AI and IoT to scale, the explosive growth of the digital business requires new submarine cable systems with higher capacity and greater resilience.”

From an Irish perspective, there are currently four undersea cables connecting the island of Ireland to the US and eight systems connecting the island to Great Britain.

“According to Host in Ireland, there are 70 operational data centers located in the country, and undersea cables have been a key component in making Ireland such an attractive place for investment in digital infrastructure,” said Hollands.

“In the next few years, we will see new subsea projects for the first time that will connect Ireland directly with Norway, Denmark, Iceland and France.”

This acceleration of subsea projects will put Ireland in an incredibly strong position in terms of digital infrastructure.

A. Data severity index The 2020 report suggested that Dublin will be among the top cities contributing to Europe’s data growth in the coming years.

Globally, the capital of Ireland is also expected to overtake cities and data centers like Mexico City, Sao Paulo and even Shanghai to be among the top 20 cities to experience annual data growth by 2024.

“Data gravity is the phenomenon of large amounts of data pulling more data and applications to the same place,” Hollands said. “Cities with strong and open data exchanges with other cities tend to generate the highest severity of data, providing significant strategic advantages for companies in those cities.

“Existing and planned submarine cables ensure that Dublin can take advantage of this megatrend and efficiently cope with the high volume of data activity.”

In addition to the development of new cables, Hollands told that these cables will also get smarter, incorporating seismic and environmental sensing functions to help the scientific community preserve our environment.

“A good example of this is the recently launched Ellalink cable between Brazil and Europe.” This cable, for which construction completed In early June, it will act as a digital data highway and as a means to provide real-time, accurate and relevant data on the conditions of the seabed.

Navigating challenges

While the future for submarine cables is promising, there are also challenges and barriers to the growth of the industry.

From a geopolitical point of view, tensions between countries can cause serious problems when it comes to data transfer.

For example, while the Facebook-Google cables connecting Singapore and Indonesia are underway, plans for another cable between the US and Hong Kong were cut after four years in the making.

Hollands also said that the demand for so many projects has put the supply side of the industry. “There are a limited number of cable-laid ships and submarine cable operators have to carefully schedule their projects to meet their deadlines,” he said.

However, he added that the new projects also seek to connect countries through new routes and landing points. “This helps improve the overall resilience of the networks that use them, ensuring that all services delivered over the Internet avoid downtime.”

Interxion is conducting an informational webinar on the Irish undersea cable landscape on June 15 at 2:30 pm. More information is available here.