The construction of a €279 million super fast transatlantic cable to greatly boost data speeds between Europe and the US, has been described as a game changer for the Mayo economy.
The cable, which will link Shirley, New York, to Killala before linking to the UK and the rest of Europe, is broadly expected to make Mayo and the western region a prime location for high tech investment in the form of big data centres.
Construction on the fibre optic cable is expected to be complete by December 2015, stated AquaComms, the undersea communications specialist which is driving the project.
When complete, the cable will stretch for 5,400 kilometres across the Atlantic and should start transmitting data in the first quarter of 2016.
AquaComms is calling the cable the America Europe Connect (AEConnect ).
Killala was chosen for the landing due to its unique seabed topography which allows for the shortest possible route as it travels from New York and overland to Dublin and onward to the UK, said an AquaComms statement.
An Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the cable “has the potential to transform Mayo”.
“Cloud computing and data centres are playing, and will continue to play, a huge role in the daily lives of people around the world. Mayo will become an ideal location for investment in the industry,” said Mr Kenny.
AquaComms made special refererence this week to Mayo County Council and chief executive Peter Hynes, which the company said played a “crucial” role in securing the project.
Speaking after the announcement Mr Hynes said the original proposal was to take the cable around Ireland and to connect directly into England, but Mayo County Council and its enterprise and investment unit, working with Government, invited the developers to come ashore in Mayo and connect from there onto Dublin and then the UK.
“We are very excited by the possibilities it creates for the future of the west,” added Mr Hynes.
Deputy Michelle Mulherin (FG ) said the project makes Mayo home to “one of the most important and technologically advanced pieces of communications infrastructure [in the word].”
“This is a game changer for the Mayo economy,” she said.
“Once complete, the cable will give Mayo a high-speed connection to the telecommunications infrastructure right across the world, providing a massive boost to the attractiveness of Mayo as a location for business.”