Colt takes over the fiber optic link through the Eurotunnel


The network operator Colt is taking over the fiber optic infrastructure in the Eurotunnel, creating a further connection between continental Europe and the British Isles for its network. Colt has concluded an agreement with the tunnel operator Getlink for the operation and marketing of the optical fiber. The contract, which also includes network services for Getlink and the tunnel, is to run for 25 years and will bring the tunnel operator at least 185 million euros over the term, the companies announced on Thursday.

The Eurotunnel, which went into operation in 1994, has three tubes and connects the French Coquelles near Calais with the English port of Folkestone over 50.45 kilometers. Between the two main tubes through which the trains run there is a supply tunnel through which unconnected fiber optics (“dark fiber”) were also laid. Since 1998 this fiber has been used by Global Crossing, which was taken over by Level 3 and then bought by CenturyLink.

Colt is now gradually taking over the contracts for the use of dark fiber, which will expire by 2025, and intends to install and operate a fiber optic network with multi-terabit speed and provide telecommunications services for the tunnel operator. Getlink takes care of the maintenance of the systems. Colt expects installation in the tunnel to take four to six months and hopes to begin provisioning services in early 2022.

The network operator is currently running its worldwide “IQ Network” via three other submarine cable connections through the English Channel. A fourth connection is then added through the tunnel, which should provide several terabits per second per fiber pair. The Colt IQ Network is a 100 Gbit / s network and, according to the operator, connects over 900 data centers and more than 29,000 buildings worldwide.

The network operator is arming itself with the Eurotunnel deal for the growing demand for data connections. “There is a growing demand for bandwidth between the UK and mainland Europe, which will continue to increase in the years to come,” said Colt CEO Keri Gilder. “The future potential of the tunnel connections is considerable.”


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