Hibernia in transatlantic IP radio deal with Virgin

21 Mar 2006

The Irish fibre optic data company Hibernia Atlantic, which is owned by Ken Peterson (whose company Columbia Ventures also owns Magnet Networks), has signed a major deal to link Virgin Radio via Gigabit Ethernet to Telx, New York City’s most network-dense interconnect facility.

Under the deal, Hibernia will provide Virgin Radio with three different cable routes with Gigabit Ethernet across the Atlantic and within the UK and New York City.

The 12,200-km fibre optic transatlantic cable system owned by Hibernia was originally laid by 360 Networks at a cost of €900m. It was acquired by Columbia Ventures almost four years ago for a fraction of that sum at just US$18m after 360 Networks filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US.

The network can offer a capacity of 160 gigabits per second on each path — equal to 2.5 million simultaneous phone calls and at the same time broadcasting 12,000 movies.

It is understood that Virgin Radio required a secure, diverse network path and true Ethernet service while avoiding the traditional congested oceanic and terrestrial backhaul routes such as the UK’s Bude, Bristol and Whitesands areas or Long Island aerial poles and the overused Garden State Parkway.

Hibernia Atlantic met this need because it owns and operates the only direct transatlantic cable route from the US and Canada to Ireland and the UK and is providing Virgin Radio with true Ethernet over a SONET/SDH backbone. This is not a shared MPLS network similar to other traditional transatlantic carriers.

“Since turning up the circuit from the UK to New York City a few weeks ago, Virgin Radio has already provided streaming media to thousands of our listeners via Hibernia Atlantic’s secure network,” states David Jones, head of IT for Virgin Radio.

“Today’s announcement is one more testament to Virgin Radio’s reputation as the world’s most listened to station on the internet, with a proven record of adopting the latest technology to ensure our listeners the best audio experience possible. And beyond service, we also get choice.

“With our secure access to Telx within 60 Hudson Street in New York City, we now have the ability to cross-connect to over 250 network providers, from metro to international carriers, ISPs and content delivery providers, which are competing for our business. Our network has never sounded better,” Jones chimed.

By John Kennedy