Direct link to the Netherlands for Nordic R&E

A wise fox will always have more than one exit, and the same applies to digital infrastructure. This is the philosophy behind a new fiber link from Esbjerg, Denmark, to Amsterdam, the Netherlands, taking its route through the North Sea.

“Since the cable is routed directly from Denmark to the Netherlands it will offer increased reliability to the research & education communities in the Nordic countries.  Any potential bottlenecks in for example the German infrastructure will not affect this alternative route” says Lars Lange Bjørn, Manager of the Network Planning and Engineering department at NORDUnet.

The total cable length is 608 km, with 308 km as an uninterrupted subsea cable. Named COBRA – for COpenhagen, BRussels, Amsterdam – the new fiber link takes advantage of a larger project establishing two subsea power cables connecting Danish and Dutch power grids. The purpose of these two power cables is to increase the possibilities for exchange of surplus wind power, along with achieving safer supply of power. The power cables are owned by the two power companies TenneT and Energinet DK from the Netherlands and Denmark, respectively.

“We saw the power cable project as an opportunity to acquire direct connectivity to the Netherlands on a low-loss fiber optic cable. The project fits in nicely with our Next-Generation-Network strategy which aims to have at least three ways to connect and exchange the research traffic everywhere in the network,” explains Lars Lange Bjørn.

The fiber cable routes through two Danish sites (Fanø and Esbjerg)  and five Dutch sites (Eemshaven, Groningen, Leuwarden, Middenmeer and Amsterdam).

Optical spectrum was provided by Danish national research and education network DeiC from Copenhagen to Esbjerg, enabling NORDUnet to establish a new POP in Esbjerg. Further expansions are ongoing from Esbjerg through Northern Jutland (Bulbjerg) towards Stølen, Norway, providing a third way into Oslo. These connections are provided by DeiC and Norwegian NREN Uninett.