Firm in undersea cable project deal

Daily Echo: Firm in undersea cable project deal Firm in undersea cable project deal

A HAMPSHIRE business has been chosen to help deliver the UK’s biggest ever undersea cable project.

Romsey-based A-2-Sea Solutions was one of three companies awarded a £26.9million contract by BT to deliver fast broadband to the Scottish Islands and Highlands.

The business has been in Romsey for around 17 years and will work onshore connecting the cables to BT’s terrestrial network.

Chief executive Steve Wells said it was one of the biggest projects A-2-Sea had ever worked on.

He said: “It’s a project we hoped we would win for some time and we are very pleased to be part of the team moving forward.

“It also means the company will have to grow to accommodate the extra work so we are looking at creating two-to-three new jobs, which is a big positive.”

A-2-Sea, which employs around ten people, has already started initial work on the project and will begin on site in late January.

The project will see 20 fibre optic underwater cables laid between Kintyre and Orkney during May to October 2014 Brendan Dick, director of BT Scotland, said: “Quite simply, it’s the biggest subsea engineering project BT has undertaken in UK territorial waters and is the first ever with so many seabed crossings. “The size of the task presents a massive challenge, not only because of the number of cables involved but also the fact that the work has to be completed within a single, six-month weather window. The pressure is on but we’re confident that in just over a year’s time, the Highlands and Islands will be set to benefit from its own network of underwater, fibre optic cables.”

Chelmsford-based Global Marine Systems and French business Orange Marine are the other businesses involved, and will supply and lay the cables respectively.

All three were chosen from a competitive tendering process which featured several rival bids.

The longest cable will run for nearly 49 miles (79km) under the Minch from Ullapool to Stornoway, with the Western Isles also benefitting from a second link stretching more than 35 miles (57km) between Carnan on South Uist, and Dunvegan on Skye.

It is part of a £146million investment launched with Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) in March to bring high-speed fibre broadband across northern Scotland.

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