Hibernia Plans High-Speed Trans-Atlantic Cable

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The race to accelerate Wall Street trading has moved underwater. Hibernia Atlantic today announced plans to build a trans-Atlantic submarine fiber optic cable that will provide faster connections between New York and London than any available today.

Hibernia said the new Project Express cable will provide high frequency traders with latency of under 60 milliseconds between New York and London, faster than the current top speed available on the fastests trans-Atlantic cable, Global Crossing’s AC-1. The first phase of the new build will run a cable from the county of Somerset in the UK, to Halifax, Canada where it will connect with Hibernia’s current low latency cable from Halifax to New York. The build is projected to be completed by the summer of 2012.

Project Express will be the first trans-Atlantic cable build in nearly 10 years, following the dot-com era overbuilding of 1998-2001, when seven new submarine cable routes were built. Pricing collapsed, and trans-Atlantic bandwidth remains among the lowest available. But Hibernia clearly sees an opportunity in the demand from the high frequency trading market, where a difference of microseconds can offer a competitive advantage.

“We’ve heard of some latency-sensitive customers paying many times the average price of bandwidth in order to secure the fastest connection,” said Tim Stronge, VP of research at TeleGeography, which tracks global bandwidth pricing. “If Hibernia can sustain a price premium for Project Express, it will meet with a much happier fate than what befell other operators ten years ago.”

“If the project comes to fruition, it will put Hibernia and its Global Financial Network into a powerful position for all latency sensitive transatlantic traffic,” writes Rob Powell at Telecom Ramblings.

Hibernia’s Global Financial Network connects financial trading communities in North America, including major data centers in northern New Jersey that have become hubs for high-speed trading.   

“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.”

About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor-in-chief of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.

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