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All Aboard: Hibernia Express Cable Completed

Dan O'Shea
9/15/2015
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Hibernia Networks' much-anticipated Hibernia Express transatlantic submarine cable is ready for service, promising under 60 milliseconds latency for some roundtrip applications between New York City and London.

Hibernia Networks CEO Bjarni Thorvardarson said during a webcast Tuesday the company has achieved 59.5 milliseconds latency in tests and is continuing to test services on Hibernia Express for the next few days to see how low it can get. The lowest-latency levels likely will be available to such customers as financial firms that are willing to pay top-dollar for top-tier transport services.

He added that using Corning Cable Systems LLC (CCS) 's EX2000 pure silica core fiber helped Hibernia hit that latency mark. But what further helped is the fact that Hibernia Express is laid out on a fairly straight line following the curvature of the Earth, rather than taking the somewhat more twisted routes that the existing Hibernia North and Hibernia South cable take across the Atlantic.

"We followed a great circle route, which involved a mix of deep and shallow water," Thorvardarson said. "Normally, you want to avoid shallow water, but we were able to plow the cable [into the seabed] as deep as 2.5 meters with new plowing equipment that hadn’t been available for this kind of cable before."

The first new transatlantic submarine cable in more than 12 years, the Hibernia Express cable is 4,600km long and supports 100G bandwidth for transport services, and even 200G along select segments. Hibernia started building it last year with TE SubCom after breaking off with original vendor partner Huawei Marine Networks Co. Ltd. . US-based service providers had reportedly raised security concerns about the vendor choice. (See Hibernia Subsea Cable Build Begins.)


Want to know more about the submarine cable sector? Check out our dedicated subsea content channel right here on Light Reading.


The Hibernia Express provides an answer to bandwidth demand that has been growing in the transatlantic corridor at a rate of 40% annually. Hibernia previously announced that both Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) and Zayo Group Inc. (NYSE: ZAYO) had signed on as users of the cable. Thorvardarson said the company is pursuing customers in four pillar markets: financial services, media and broadcast, web-centric companies and service providers. (See Microsoft Taps Hibernia for North Atlantic Route.)

— Dan O'Shea, Managing Editor, Light Reading

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