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Project Kelvin - the large fiber-optic cable build to connect more than one-dozen cities in Ireland to Europe and North America - took a major step forward Tuesday, when crews began laying cable in Portadown, Northern Ireland.

"This work makes Portadown an integral part of the Kelvin network," said Derek Bullock, VP of network operations with Hibernia Atlantic - the large trans-Atlantic cable transport provider in charge of the project.

"This build will add additional and much needed capacity to this region to further support both local and global commerce," Bullock, added. "The secure and diverse cable footprint and the increased bandwidth capacity are attractive to local companies, who can now increase their business communications and next-generation Internet service offerings."

The build also makes Hibernia the first company to deploy a cable from North America to the region in question.

Hibernia said in a statement that besides spurring local business activity, the additional capacity will make the region attractive to global financial service companies, exchange markets and media firms that are looking for low-latency connectivity, while bypassing major hubs in New York City and London.

The €30-million project is a collaboration between Ireland's Department of Communications and Natural Resources and Northern Ireland's Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment. Some of the funds are provided through the INTERREG IVA program - an initiative supported by the EU, aiming to address economic and social programs by encouraging gross-border cooperation.

Kelvin will connect the cities of Armagh, Ballymena, Belfast, Coleraine, Londonderry, Omagh, Portadown, Strabane, Letterkenny, Castleblayney, Dundalk, Drogheda and Monaghan to Europe and North America.

The Portadown build will continue through Nov. 24.

Map of planned Project Kelvin infrastructure, courtesy of Hibernia Atlantic