Blackpool dubbed ‘Silicon Sands’ as connected to one of fastest internet connections in UK

Blackpool has been dubbed the “Silicon Sands” as it was connected to one of the fastest internet connections in the UK, after specialist divers waited six months for the right moment to lay the subsea cable. 

At just after 3pm on Sunday the subsea fibre optical cable was laid under the sand dunes where it officially enabled the internet to travel from mainland Europe to New York in 60 milliseconds.

Tony Doyle, head of IT at Blackpool council, said the next generation cable, now part of the North Atlantic Loop,  was “a game changer”. 

“We need it to cope with the demands of the internet,” he said. 

“Cables from the dot.com era don’t have the capacity whereas this has 40 times the capacity you would have had 20 years ago. This puts Blackpool on the map in terms of international connectivity.”

He said the new cable, which now connects New York, Dublin, the Isle of Man, Blackpool, Newcastle and Denmark, would give Blackpool “a stake in the digital economy and be attractive to companies that want split second connectivity”.

Whilst the fastest internet cable in the UK is in Slough, Berkshire, it does not have the capacity of Blackpool’s latest cable and is deemed too expensive for many traders to use. 

Andy Hudson, Chief Network Officer at Aqua Comms, owner and operator of their North Atlantic Loop fibres, said: “Internet connectivity needs to be secure yet agile, flexible and resilient and nowhere is this more critical than in the transatlantic market, one of the busiest oceanic data routes in the world, linking North America to Northern Europe.

“The combination of the shortest, direct route to the USA, and the newest technological assets and engineering capabilities available on the market, makes this a significant 30 plus year investment which could benefit