Direct Ireland-France cable receives financial backing

17 January 2017 | Alan Burkitt-Gray


Backers of another subsea cable system that will deliberately bypass post-Brexit UK say they have agreed finance for the project.

New York-based Tiger Infrastructure Partners will finance and construct IFC-1, a cable planned to link Ireland and France directly, according to Ireland-France Subsea Cable (IFSC), the project’s backers.

“The massive growth of Ireland’s data centre industry and the requirement for resilient telecommunications infrastructure has created the need for a new, direct route to continental Europe,” said Michael Cunningham, chairman of IFSC.

Tiger Infrastructure Partners says it is a middle-market private equity firm that invests in growing infrastructure platforms. It targets investments in communications, energy, transportation, and related sectors, mainly in North America and Europe.

The Ziff family, which made its fortune in publishing – put by Forbes at $14.4 billion – is a significant investor in Tiger Infrastructure Partners.

IFC-1 is due to run from Dublin to Paris via a subsea stretch from Cork on the south coast of Ireland to Lannion in Brittany. IFSC was created by telecom entrepreneurs Mike and Doug Cunningham, whose Arctic Fibre project was taken over by Quintillion in 2016.

At the beginning of January another veteran telecoms entrepreneur, Sunil Tagare, announced a project to connect the US and southern France without routing through the UK. That project is named Brexit 1, said Tagare, who was a founder of the Flag Telecom cable now owned by Global Cloud Xchange.

IFSC and Tiger have not given financial details for Tiger’s backing of the IFC-1 project. “We are pleased to be working with IFSC and its experienced leadership team to develop and build this strategic cable between Ireland and France,” said Emil Henry, CEO and managing partner of Tiger Infrastructure Partners. The system is scheduled to be ready for service in late 2018, say the companies.

PiPiper is another projected Ireland-France subsea cable scheme, connecting Cork to Nantes. The company applied for planning permission in 2014 from the Irish government to build a cable landing station, but there is no further information about its progress.