A transatlantic cable being brought ashore at Portrush will provide the island of Ireland with faster and cheaper data transfer.

Divers off the County Antrim cost are bringing a telecommunications cable ashore that will provide Northern Ireland with direct high-speed data access to North America.

Project Kelvin, the first direct telecommunications link between North America and Northern Ireland will provide cheaper and faster broadband connections between Ireland and the United States (US). 

Hibernia Atlantic is constructing the link to North America, and its Chief Executive Officer Bjarni Thorvardarson says the first phase of the project involves bringing a fibre optic undersea cable into Portrush in County Antrim.

We will have then a whole unbroken cable from Portrush to Canada and US and to UK and the rest of Europe.

Once landed the cable will be extended to several urban centres in Northern Ireland. It will also provide direct international connectivity to the US for Letterkenny, Castleblayney, Monaghan, Dundalk and Drogheda in the Republic of Ireland.

Derek Bullock, vice-president of network operations says this will provide faster and cheaper communications access for businesses and eventually to residential customers.

Dublin, Stormont and the European Union are giving 30 million euro of public money to the project. Even in tough times, the government considers it money well spent. The Minister for Communications, Eamon Ryan says 

It’s the State making an investment to create the right conditions to pull other businesses in, and it’s not only in the Internet area, it’s a whole range of different IT businesses.

The completion date for the submarine cable is March 2010.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 21 June 2009. The reporter is Tommie Gorman