New Iceland undersea data cable will be the fastest to date

The undersea cable which Emerald Networks intends to lay between Ireland and the USA, with a connection to Iceland, will help Iceland create jobs in the creative sector and support environmentally friendly business, according to the company’s Icelandic rep, Þorvaldur Sigurðsson.

Reuters yesterday reported that work to lay the new data cable is expected to start next year and will cost investors in the region of ISK 36 billion (EUR 226.76 million).

“This project has been under intense preparation for several years,” Þorvaldur told Vísir.is. He says that the new cable will be the highest speed connection which has so far been laid under the North Atlantic. He said that there are already 14 cables between Europe and the USA; but all of them are much slower than the one Emerald Networks wants to lay.

According to Þorvaldur the new cable will increase the likelihood that Iceland can become a global hub for data centres. In order for that to become a reality several different pieces need to fall into place. Firstly there needs to be a plentiful supply of cheap electricity; which Iceland has. Number two, he says, is to use Iceland’s often-cold air to cool the servers; replacing the need to pump masses of water around the buildings. There also needs to be enough available land to build the data centres — which Iceland also has. Then there is the need for excellent high-speed internet connections; which the new cable would ensure.

“The fifth element is peripheral things like, for example, the tax environment,” Þorvaldur explains. “Alþingi has passed regulation stating that foreign data centre customers do not need to pay value added tax in Iceland. That makes Iceland competitive compared to other data centre locations in Europe and the USA.”