Hibernia Atlantic in global fibre deal with Huawei

16 Jan 2012

Hibernia Atlantic has signed a major construction deal with Huawei that will see the Chinese telecoms giant deploy its US$300m transatlantic Project Express network that will connect the financial centres of London and New York. The network will include a branching unit to connect with Ireland.

Hibernia Atlantic is laying a 6,021km state-of-the-art fibre Hibernian Express network that will extend from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, to the UK, connecting finance centres in New York and London in just 59 milliseconds.

Huawei Marine is understood to have completed the first phase of the project’s marine survey work and is now manufacturing the cables and wet plant for the project.

The Atlantic phase of the Global Financial Network – called global because it will link up with similar fibre networks Hibernia Atlantic plans to deploy in the Pacific to connect financial centres like Tokyo, Hong Kong and Singapore – will be ready for service by summer 2013.

The Hibernia Atlantic business is owned by US businessman Ken Peterson, who also owns broadband provider Magnet.

In 2009, the €30m ‘Project Kelvin’ fibre cable that links Ireland to 24,000km of undersea cable linking Ireland with the US, Canada and UK came ashore at Portrush, Co Antrim. The transatlantic and terrestrial cable network offers more than 70 points of presence throughout Ireland, Canada, the US, the UK and mainland Europe.

The Project Express segment of the GFN is scheduled to be ready for service during the summer of 2013. The system will involve a minimum of a 4-fibre pair repeated submarine cable, providing connectivity between New York and London, initially using 40G technology with upgrades to 100G planned in the future.

Good news for Cork?

The first phase of the system begins with laying a 4,600km cable from Brean in Somerset in the UK to Halifax in Canada.

This cable will then connect to Hibernia Atlantic’s current low-latency cable, which runs from Halifax to the United States, passing from Lynn, near Boston, and onwards to New York.

Hibernia Atlantic said the new system will also include five branching units for future connectivity enhancements to Ireland, the US and continental Europe.

Businesses in Cork had expressed concern that the cable – which passes 20km south of Cork harbour – might not be connected to the network which may have impacted future investments in the region.

During the summer, business groups like it@cork, which represents more than 300 technology businesses, estimated that the cost of connecting a spur to the Hibernia Express cable will be just €15m but the economic reward priceless.

Project Express will become an essential route on Hibernia Atlantic’s GFN, uniting hundreds of global banks and financial exchanges with a single connection. Built specifically for the financial community, the GFN meets demanding performance and reliability requirements. Project Express will further strengthen the GFN by reinforcing it as the fastest path across the Atlantic, providing additional fast and secure links throughout Asia, Europe and North America.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years