Little information on benefits of Project Kelvin

The telecommunications site at Fort George
The telecommunications site at Fort George

Foyle MLA, Pat Ramsey has been told that the success of the Project Kelvin telecommunications enterprise - and its impact on Derry - has not been looked at since an informal survey in 2012.

Project Kelvin, an extensive underwater and overland cable connecting the north directly to North America, was completed during the spring of 2010 and was hailed at the time as a significant piece of infrastructure for the North West.

However, Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster told Mr Ramsey that no assessment of Project Kelvin’s success has been taken since an informal survey conducted two years ago.

Mr Ramsey recently wrote to the Minister to ask her to outline the benefits in real terms to Derry of the completion of Project Kelvin.

Mrs Foster has responded: “While Invest NI does not hold information on which companies have chosen to take advantage of the transatlantic link, the agency conducted an informal survey in 2012 to assess the extent to which Project Kelvin was important to investment decisions.”

She added: “Invest NI has not collected any data on Project Kelvin since that time.”

The Minister did, however, highlight the benefits identified in the informal survey carried out in 2012, saying: “Project Kelvin provides businesses across Northern Ireland, for the first time, with a direct international telecommunications link to North America and improved services to mainland Europe. Under the terms of the Project Kelvin contract, the latency, resilience and cost of this international connectivity is guaranteed until 2018. This means that businesses throughout Northern Ireland now have access to the same international telecoms services found in major cities like Amsterdam and New York. This enables them to compete in global export markets and provides increased opportunities to sell goods and services overseas. Invest NI uses the benefits of the region’s world class telecoms infrastructure, including the transatlantic link provided by Project Kelvin, to promote Northern Ireland.”