BT has awarded Global Marine Systems the marine engineering contract for the Scottish Highlands and Islands subsea cable project. The contract includes subsea cable route design, marine survey and cable supply and installation for an ambitious subsea fibre-optic network that will deliver fast fibre broadband to the Scottish Highlands and Islands.
Global Marine will provide their engineering services to mitigate installation risks and support on-time and on-budget system delivery. Brendan Dick, director, BT Scotland, said: "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. BT has worked with Global Marine Systems on several occasions, and we have full trust in the company’s capability to plan optimal cable routes that will ensure successful installations and that will also ensure the long-term physical security and viability of this network."
Global Marine’s cable route study will define core route information, detail factors along the cable route that could affect system integrity and provide a technical reference for the design life of the project. The company’s cable engineering team evaluates installation risks, considers alternative routes and ensures timely project completion with its route selection practices. The BT project will also benefit from Global Marine’s industry-leading Geographical Information System, the most comprehensive subsea cable database in the world, to enhance route planning, cable installation, maintenance and route clearance operations.
CEO Ian Douglas stated "It is an honour to be working with BT again after having installed three previous projects for them in UK waters. Highlands and Islands is the biggest subsea fibre project ever in UK waters, and the number of individual cable landings in a multitude of environments makes this an amazing and challenging undertaking. Global Marine’s roll in minimizing risk and ensuring route viability and security is one we are extremely proud to have in support of this important project."
The massive engineering effort is part of the £146 million investment project launched with Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) in March to bring high-speed fibre broadband to communities across the north of Scotland. The subsea network is hailed as the UK’s most challenging and complex broadband project ever, and means that around 84 per cent of Highlands and Islands homes and businesses will have access to fibre broadband by the end of 2016.