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11 January 2021

New full-fibre network to link Cambridge research institutions and enterprises to key sites in the UK, across Europe, and globally

A new way for Cambridge businesses and research institutions to connect to key sites and communities across Europe is now available thanks to Light Blue Fibre, bandwidth infrastructure provider euNetworks, and the UK Innovation Corridor’s most advanced data centre, Kao Data.

Light Blue Fibre, which was launched as a joint venture by University of Cambridge and Cambridgeshire County Council in 2019 is now being enabled by euNetworks, which specialises in data-centre-to-data-centre connectivity across the UK and Europe.

Light Blue Fibre delivers over 100km of ducting and wholesale dark fibre in the Cambridge metropolitan area. This network is in place to facilitate high performance computing (HPC) within the education, research, and life sciences communities.

euNetworks will be responsible for delivering the operational and maintenance support necessary to provide both dark fibre and multi-Terabit high speed managed optical services across the Light Blue Fibre assets. These services will be available to all Light Blue Fibre-connected Cambridge campuses, organisations, wholesale internet service providers (ISPs) and partners from early 2021.

euNetworks additionally offers direct fibre connection to Kao Data’s campus in Harlow and unique fibre-based routes onward to London, around the UK and across Europe.

These new services enable direct, fast and latest generation connectivity to Cambridge’s science and research parks and pave the way for greater HPC and artificial intelligence (AI) collaboration across Europe. The state-of-the-art Kao Data campus has been built specifically for compute-intensive HPC and AI collaboration.

Professor Ian Leslie, Chair of Light Blue Fibre, says:

Prof Ian Leslie

“This is a very exciting development. Light Blue Fibre is connected into many of the key campus locations in and around Cambridge, offering the ability for campus 5G with Edge computing to gain a new and diverse network for the city. Collaboration with euNetworks and Kao Data will further serve the local community of University sites and campus locations, providing even more opportunities for wider connectivity.”

euNetworks’ CEO Brady Rafuse, says:

“Data centre connectivity is critically important to businesses today, and our network development and new fibre system delivers vital infrastructure to support the many businesses and communities in Cambridge whose connectivity and collaboration requirements continue to grow.

Brady Rafuse

“Our pan-European network directly connects over 440 key data centres in our operating markets – that is, all the major data centres in Europe, as well as key research sites. Our diverse and unique network routes to these locations, together with the solutions offered by Light Blue Fibre and Kao Data, offer a compelling connectivity response for those in the Cambridge community undertaking mission-critical computing.”

Kao Data’s CEO, Lee Myall says:

Lee Myall

“Science and research, especially within the life science and bioinformatics sectors, requires localised HPC hardware, low latency and high bandwidths to work with and move enormous datasets and batch files.

“Having a specialist HPC and AI industrial-scale data centre in close proximity to Cambridge, which is connected by Light Blue Fibre and dark fibre directly to their processing points and the wider research network, is a gamechanger.”

Light Blue Fibre, euNetworks and Kao Data will be holding a virtual event on Wednesday 24 February 10.30am-12pm to talk through these services, answer any questions and delve deeper into the technical demands the Cambridge community will need in the coming months and years. To reserve your place please register on the Cambridge Wireless website event page.

About euNetworks

euNetworks is a bandwidth infrastructure company, owning and operating 17 fibre based metropolitan networks connected with a high capacity intercity backbone covering 51 cities in 15 countries. The company leads the market in data centre connectivity, directly connecting over 440 today. euNetworks is also a leading cloud connectivity provider, directly connecting to all key cloud platforms with access to additional platforms. The company offers a targeted portfolio of metropolitan and long-haul services including Dark Fibre, Wavelengths and Ethernet. Wholesale, finance, content, media, data centre and enterprise customers benefit from euNetworks’ unique inventory of fibre and duct-based assets that are tailored to fulfil their high bandwidth needs.


About Kao Data

Founded in 2014, Kao Data develops and operates advanced data centres for high performance colocation. From our hyperscale inspired campus in the heart of the UK Innovation Corridor between London and Cambridge, we provide cloud, HPC, AI and enterprise customers with a world-class home for their compute.

Our Harlow campus – built on the site of Sir Charles Kao’s pioneering discovery of fibre optic cable in 1966 – is a development of four state-of the-art, OCP-Ready®, carrier neutral data centres. When fully completed the 15 acre, +£230m campus will support an ITE load of over 40MW, across 150,000sq ft of technical space – all powered by 100% renewable energy.

Backed by Legal & General Capital and Goldacre – Noé Group, Kao Data is one of the largest campus developments in the UK and represents the future in sustainable, efficient and scalable computing – providing an industry blueprint to develop further best-in-class data centres.


Previous News

12 July 2019

Light Blue Fibre leads the way for full fibre connectivity in Cambridge and beyond

An innovative joint venture launched today, Thursday 11 July 2019, by the University of Cambridge and Cambridgeshire County Council is opening up new opportunities for full fibre networks to expand Cambridgeshire’s digital infrastructure.

The new company, Light Blue Fibre Ltd, will see the University unite its technological expertise with the Council’s ambition to deliver better digital connectivity across the city and beyond, by making both organisations’ extensive duct and fibre networks available on a commercial basis.

One of the first of its kind in the UK, this forward-thinking initiative will offer access to over 100km of existing ducting and dark fibre on a wholesale basis.

Light Blue Fibre aims to attract telecoms companies, infrastructure providers and local technology businesses who understand the importance of full fibre connectivity and are looking to save time and money by reducing the need for expensive and time-consuming infrastructure developments.

The establishment of the company was supported at Cambridgeshire County Council’s Commercial & Investment Committee in February this year, when the go ahead was given for the development and commercialisation of the two organisations’ existing fibre ducting assets.

Board Members from the University of Cambridge and Cambridgeshire County Council formally signed an agreement to create the joint venture in May 2019, and the official launch of Light Blue Fibre took place today (Thursday 11 July) at the University of Cambridge’s historic Combination Room.

Both the University and the Council have plans to further expand their duct and fibre assets and this pioneering collaboration will help businesses to access infrastructure that would otherwise be unavailable to them, so promoting competition and innovation.

The County Council’s available fibre assets include ducting that is already incorporated into the construction of the Guided Busway, and will be included in all new major road, path and cycle projects following recently approved council policy to include fibre ducting during construction to extensively expand council’s network of infrastructure over the coming years.

The Granta Backbone Network (GBN) is the University’s privately owned optical fibre network. Covering a large proportion of the historic city already, it radiates out to strategic locations delivering high speed, high-availability network services to colleges, institutions and research bodies linked to the University.

Professor Ian Leslie, Chair of the Board for Light Blue Fibre, said:

“This is a very exciting joint venture. The development of Light Blue Fibre will make the existing and future ducting and fibre assets of two major networks in Cambridgeshire available for community and commercial use.

“It will provide local businesses, government, health and the education sector with cutting edge digital infrastructure, capable of meeting their data connectivity and communication needs for now and into the future and it gives the University more opportunities for wider connectivity.”

Noelle Godfrey, Board Member for Cambridgeshire County Council, who leads the Connecting Cambridgeshire Digital Connectivity Programme, said:

“Connectivity is a vital element of the Government’s national digital strategy which provides a foundation for economic strength, thriving communities and successful localities.

“Cambridgeshire County Council and University Information Services network team have developed a strong collaboration over a number of years of joint working to the benefit of the local community and businesses alike, and this is the next step.”

Margot James, Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries, said:

“Through our modern Industrial Strategy we’re building a nationwide full fibre network to make the UK fit for the future.

“Local partnerships in Cambridgeshire are sharing resources and infrastructure in a new way to help realise this vision, bringing about a significant boost in gigabit speeds for the benefit of homes and businesses in rural areas.”

The formation of Light Blue Fibre makes current and future fibre assets of the University and the Council available on a wholesale basis, with no minimum term, providing quick and easy access.


Media coverage

The launch of Light Blue Fibre was mentioned on media pages and picked up by various news outlets including:

Business Weekly

Cambridge Network

ISP Review

Telecom Paper

University Information Services news pages

University of Cambridge news pages

Connecting Cambridgeshire news pages

Cambridgeshire County Council news pages