Fergus Innes, Hibernia Atlantic Q&A: Addressing the Atlantic
Hibernia Atlantic operates two routes across Europe, offering fibre services through the North Sea with widespread access to the major financial exchanges of London, Paris, Amsterdam and Frankfurt.
It also recently increased its presence in Europe following a deal to acquire TeliaSonera’s Media Connect business to offer media services in 13 cities across the continent.
Here, the company’s VP sales, EMEA, Fergus Innes, talks about the importance of developing network services.
Q | What were the major drivers behind Hibernia Media’s decision to acquire TeliaSonera Media Connect?
In 2009 we acquired a company called Media Extreme, which led us to set up Hibernia Media and focus on delivering network services to broadcast and television companies as we saw more content being delivered from Europe to the US and vice versa. Through this, we saw a business opportunity to extend our network.
TeliaSonera had developed a similar business, using the same underlying technology and hardware, which is when we began to discuss possibilities of a takeover. It felt like a natural fit for both entities to combine the two operations.
Q | Is M&A activity in Europe at risk considering turbulent market conditions?
What we have done in terms of the acquisition of the media network in Europe is a testament for where we see growth for Hibernia.
We are in a fortunate position of being a nimble, manoeuvrable and opportunistic organisation that is competing against larger incumbents that are struggling with the economic downturn in terms of maintaining revenue lines.
It is a chance for us to turn economic downturns into opportunities and build out more reach of our network into the verticals which we focus on: wholesale, enterprise, media and financial.
Although on a global basis the economic climate is a difficult place to do business, we are fortunate to be in a sector that is constantly growing and we are seeing massive demands on our networks to deliver larger bandwidth demands.
We are also selling into a community across those verticals that are more savvy about what they are building into their network and ensuring they have deployed more diversity, lower latency networks for IP backbones.
Q | Is there now a higher demand for financial exchange platforms in Europe and what are the benefits?
It’s an ever changing area of business and with consolidation of exchanges, with these platforms moving from one area to another with new technologies and routes becoming available, the market never stays stagnant and there is always a competitive environment for all carriers that are playing for that high margin, low latency business, and that has to be coupled, not only with the fastest routes, but to compete successfully.
We need to build diversity into those networks to ensure our customers and our wholesale finance customers have the option for choice and diversity. I think one of the big benefits, from the European aspect is we have some unique assets.
We are the only provider that has a submarine cable, landing from the US and Canada in to Ireland, and diversely, out of Ireland into the UK, with unique routes into the north and south of London and into Paris and Amsterdam respectively.
The North American and Asian networks now also drive a lot of demand for our European customers across those three same verticals.
Q | In terms of future advancements, how does Hibernia view its European operations in comparison to the company’s wider footprint?
We operate as a global company where the high quality of service we deliver is consistent as is the business practices, regardless of the region that we do business in.
Most of our customers buy circuits from us in multiple regions and we started primarily as specialising in transatlantic connectivity but we have since developed distinct lines on both sides of the Atlantic.
In certain areas, such as our business in Ireland, or the capabilities in Canada, we will be looking to put greater emphasis on Layer 2 networking for higher Gigabit speeds.
Typically today, once networks grow, they typically opt into a DWDM point-to-point circuit and we want to add some additional value on the higher bandwidths with Layer 2 Ethernet so they can keep some of the advantages that they had at the lower speed, including multipoint capability, different class of service and serving different types of applications.
One of the things that we are very keen to develop in 2013 is the idea of giving customers access to one single port with global access to all of the IP peering exchanges at multi-Gigabit speeds.
Q | Aside from Paris, Amsterdam, London and Frankfurt, are there any other cities that can develop in a similar way for traffic exchange?
Istanbul has a local population of 20 million and is an attractive domestic market. It is one of a number of gateways to India, Africa and the Arab nations. There is also potential in Istanbul, Milan and Marseilles.
We will aim to leverage this through our media network and there is an increasing importance to make investment through partnership, largely because of the increasing pull of US content.