Hibernia Atlantic to build transatlantic cable

15 November 2010 |


Hibernia Atlantic has announced plans for a submarine cable connecting London with New York, the first new system on the transatlantic route since 2003.

 
Mike Saunders, vice president of business development,
Hibernia Atlantic

Project Express, which Hibernia said it expects to launch in mid-2012, will have ultra low latency of under 60ms and is to be aimed exclusively at the financial services sector. The new cable will form part of Hibernia’s Global Financ ial Network (GFN) which links directly into the banking hubs of Frankfurt, Chicago and Toronto, as well as London and New York. Project Express will provide the shortest route between the latter two destinations, claimed Hibernia, and will initially be lit with 40Gb technology, with future plans to upgrade that to 100Gb.

“Demand for low latency routes has grown exponentially over the past several years,” said Bjarni Thorvardarson, CEO of Hibernia Atlantic. “Project Express will offer the lowest latency from New York to London and provide demanding customers the speed and accuracy they require.” The lack of new cables across the Atlantic is a reflection of the long-standing excess of capacity on the route, dating back to the overbuild of a decade ago – a fact acknowledged by Hibernia.

“Even as recently as seven or eight months ago, I’d have been first to say that no new cable would be needed on this route until 2015, or later,” said Mike Saunders, vice president of business development for Hibernia. “But then we looked at other new low latency links between London and Frankfurt, and New York and Chicago, and suddenly London and New York seemed to be the missing link. This cable is not to do with capacity requirements and everything to do with the shortest route at the lowest latency. The last cable to be built in the Atlantic is Apollo in 2003. By the time we launch, that’s going to be nearly 10 years ago.”

“This is an interesting development for sure,” said Alan Mauldin, research director at consulting firm Telegeography. “Hibernia is basing this cable purely on the need for low latency connectivity. All the highfrequency traders care about is having the absolute fastest connection between their facilities. If the Project Express cable can provide that, Hibernia assumes they can earn enough from the financial customers to make the cable a profitable investment. You shouldn’t view this project in terms of how many $10,000 a month 10Gbps wavelengths Hibernia will need to sell for this project to be profitable because that’s not the model they are using here.”

Hibernia already owns and operates two other transatlantic cable systems.