Enet’s new 10GB connection for National Space Centre lays foundation for unprecedented 100GB capacity for space research in rural Cork

Enet, Ireland’s largest open access network provider, has successfully delivered a 10GB internet connection to the National Space Centre (NSC) in Elfordstown, Cork. Working against tight deadlines and connecting to the remote site, Enet completed installation of the 10GB ethernet connection as Phase 1 of a plan that will see planned capacity grow to 100GB, unprecedented in rural Ireland.

The Cork location is Europe’s most westerly teleport and Ireland’s only commercial ground station. Enet delivered the 10GB ethernet connection, which links the NSC to London, four months ahead of usual lead times and the connection is extremely significant given the rural location.

The connection is now supporting the National Space Centre as a world class carrier-grade commercial teleport. The €24M Elfordstown location provides commercial broadcast services, ground control support for satellites and spacecraft, academic research partnerships and space industry consulting. The NSC’s co-located Space Campus is also home to more than a dozen Irish space start-ups and EU-headquartered space enterprises.

Opened as Elfordstown Earthstation in 1984 at a cost of IR£8M, approximately €25M today, the facility celebrated ten years of operation as the NSC in 2020. The refurbished site has grown from five initial antennas to 33 antennas on-site in 2021. These range from a variety of dishes as small as 3.7M to the site’s flagship 32M dish, known as The Big Dish.

Rory Fitzpatrick, CEO of the National Space Centre, said: “NSC is increasing capacity as the first step in a major backbone upgrade focused on Low Earth Orbit (LEO). Our rural location outside Midleton means we have a hugely advantageous position as Europe’s most westerly teleport. It also means that as we grow, we can face infrastructure delivery issues we could not overcome without the commitment of key partners like Enet.”

CEO of Speed Fibre Group, which is home to Enet, Peter McCarthy said: “This 10GB connection for the National Space Centre demonstrates Enet’s ability to deliver a wholesale connectivity service on a truly nationwide basis. We’re also delighted that we delivered this connection four months ahead of usual lead times. To be in a position to offer a 100GB connection as a phase 2 option is also evidence of our ability to deliver scalability to enterprises right across the country – helping to facilitate their growth, which, in turn, supports the wider Irish economy.”