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The Ile de Batz is one of three dedicated ships Alcatel-Lucent uses to lay the submarine fibre-optic cables that carry broadband connectivity across the oceans.
The ship is usually based in Calais, but is in Greenwich now, picking up components from Alcatel-Lucent's factory. On Thursday, the telecommunications infrastructure firm invited ZDNet UK to see the factory and the ship, and have a look at a vital part of the global internet that's normally hidden by miles of water.
The Ile de Batz usually spends between 30-40 days at sea on each voyage. It can lay up to 200km of cable per day, in normal conditions, to a depth of about 8km. That cable and its components is expected to have a lifespan of around 25 years.