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Iceland Plan New Undersea Fibre Optic Link to UK or Ireland

Wednesday, January 30th, 2019 (5:14 pm) - Score 1,699

The Telecommunication Fund of Iceland and Farice ehf, the operator of two submarine cables to Iceland, have signed an agreement to start seabed survey work on a new submarine fibre optic cable (IRIS) that could link Iceland to Europe via either Ireland or the UK.

At present Farice already operates two fibre optic cables to Europe – FARICE-1 to UK and DANICE to Denmark – while a third submarine cable (Greenland-Connect) connects Iceland to Canada and US. We should add that Shefa separately operates the SHEFA-2 and CANTAT-3 cables (not shown on the map below), which also help to link Iceland to Europe and the UK.

By comparison IRIS is currently in the early survey phase and its cable would most likely run from Reykjanes Peninsula in Iceland. A final decision has yet to be taken on the cable build and route (but we know it will be “non-crossing with regards to existing cables DANICE and FARICE-1“) and the landing site is “likely to be in the UK or Ireland” (the map below shows only one “possible route” for the cable via Ireland)

The initial research phase is expected to cost around £1.6 million, while the actual build cost could reach up to around £32 million. The Icelandic government hopes the new cable will further increase the “security and resiliency of Iceland’s international telecommunications that are already of a high standard.” Depending upon the route it could also bring more capacity and redundancy to some remote parts of the UK.

iris undersea fibre optic cable link

Apparently the seabed survey will take place sometime this year (most likely during the less turbulent spring or summer months) and it will be interesting to see if Brexit has any impact upon the final route decision. Credits to The Register for spotting.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
2 Responses
  1. Optimist says:

    Isn’t there also a proposal to build an undersea power cable to supply geothermal electricity to the UK from Iceland? If so will a combined cable be used?

    1. CarlT says:

      Delayed due to Brexit. Expected to be ready by 2025 now rather than 2023.

      Will take a different route from IRIS, not a combined cable.

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