New 1.3Pbps Subsea Fibre Cable Planned Between UK and Europe

A new company called IOEMA Fibre has announced plans to build a new 1,371km long repeatered subsea fibre optic cable between the United Kingdom and several neighbouring countries in Europe, including the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and Norway. The total “minimum” capacity of this will reach a blistering 1.3 Petabits per second!

The project, which was announced this week in London during the Submarine Networks EMEA Conference, is said to have been in the planning stages since 2019, although the construction phase isn’t currently due to begin until 2026, and it will then aim to be completed by the end of 2027. But precise dates for all this are yet to be confirmed.

NOTE: 1Pbps (Petabit) is equal to 1,000Tbps (Terabits) or 1,000,000Gbps (Gigabits).

The cable itself will support 48 fibre pairs, with each pair being able to handle data transfer speeds of around 27-29Tbps (Terabits per second). Network operator Colt will act as the cable’s main landing partner in the UK and the cable itself is planned to land at a Cable Landing Station (CLS) in Dumpton Gap (Southeast England), which was previously used for other subsea cables.

In addition to the notable improvement in raw data speeds, the new cable will also improve latency times by up to 5.5 milliseconds (ms) on certain routes. This might not seem like much, but for certain tasks (financial trades) it can make a huge difference.

The IOEMA cable system consists of a trunk route, connecting Dumpton Gap, UK with Kristiansand, Norway and three branches, connecting Eemshaven, The Netherlands; Wilhelmshaven, Germany; and Blaabjerg, Denmark. The cable also connects with vital transatlantic crossings Havfrue (DK), Leif Erikson (NO) and other planned Trans-Atlantic cables.

Eckhard Bruckschen, CTO of IOEMA Fibre Ltd., said:

“After 5 years of development and observing the market in Northern Europe, it became evident that diverse routes are needed to provide the redundancy for the increasing data demand in the Nordics. We are proud to start this project together with our landing partners and provide further connectivity across Europe and beyond.”

Annette Murphy, CCO at Colt Technology Services, said:

“By increasing capacity, performance, and resilience across Northern Europe, the IOEMA project will have a profound impact on digital connectivity for this region and beyond. We’re excited and honoured to be playing a key role in bringing this ambitious vision to reality.”

The main purpose of the new cable, other than to provide further capacity improvements between the UK and Europe (i.e. faster internet and data speeds), will be to act as a replacement for existing cables that have become old and are thus due to be decommissioned (e.g. SEA-ME-WE 3, TAT-14, AC-1, CANTAT-3, etc.).

The IOEMA system will also be the first submarine fibre optic cable landing on the North Sea shores of Germany in over 25 years. “After decommissioning of TAT-14, SEA-ME-WE 3 and others, the IOEMA submarine fibre optic cable system will be the only cable system connecting Germany to the submarine cable networks in the North Sea and beyond,” said the company.

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