Relined Fiber Network’s project for connecting the Afsluitdijk to its network started several years ago. The goal? To be able to deliver the shortest/a low latency route to Amsterdam from Eemshaven. This 20 to 30 km shorter route means that the company can now offer customers (including those based in the Nordic area) a new redundant connection between the North of the Netherlands and Amsterdam. The new COBRA Fiber Optic Cable – the submarine cable between the Netherlands and Denmark – and the fact that the company now has more network infrastructure at its disposal in North Holland significantly accelerated progress during the past year. These new developments meant that the project could be completed at the end of March 2019.
Demand for connections via the Afsluitdijk was already high as only a limited number of parties are capable of supplying them. The new COBRA Fiber Optic Cable made a redundant and short route to Amsterdam from Eemshaven an even hotter topic and really started the ball rolling. The route was constructed at record speed. According to Michel Dijkhuizen, Relined’s Project Manager, the work required to complete this connection went very smoothly. Relined purchased the right to use an empty tube that was already present in the dike itself. Blowing the fibre-optic cable through the tube was all that remained to be done. Some excavation work was required at each end in order to connect the tube to Relined’s existing network.
‘The weather was good to us. We had to blow the fibre-optic cable through the tube during the stormy season – potentially very risky on a dike that acts as a primary water defence. Luckily, we were spared violent storms. In addition, the temperatures were favourable. We experienced neither frosty conditions nor severe rain. So we were able to drill and blow according to plan and complete the project on time,’ says Michel.
The Afsluitdijk is due to be fully refurbished during the coming four years. Both the dike and the locks will be reinforced and upgraded to defend the Netherlands even more effectively against the sea. Minister Van Nieuwenhuizen gave the official green light to the contractors on 31 March this year. Relined had to allow for this upcoming major maintenance project when planning and executing its own activities. All the construction work for laying the connection had to be finished beforehand.
“This required a great deal of coordination with various stakeholders. In addition, our engineers had to factor in Rijkswaterstaat’s reinforcement work to ensure that our fibre-optic cable will continue to operate with the minimum of disruption. This made it a challenging project, with some pretty stiff time constraints. Fortunately though, everything went according to plan”, says Robin de Waard, Relined’s Director of Operations.
Relined announced some time ago that it would connect the Agriport business park to its network. This network allows the company to deliver completely separate routes between Agriport and Amsterdam, offering a worthwhile addition to the route from Amsterdam to Eemshaven, which includes the Afsluitdijk. Denmark can be reached from Eemshaven via the COBRA Fiber Optic Cable. The work for laying this submarine cable is in full swing and will be completed in the third quarter of this year. The data communication cable will be made commercially available in the form of dark fibre from that time on.