In a 2012 press release, Huawei Marine Networks Co., Ltd. announced a construction contract for the Hibernia Atlantic’s Global Financial Network (GFN) Project Express. The Project Express is expected to go be ready for service during the summer of 2013. The system will provide connectivity between New York and London, initially using 40G technology with upgrades to 100G planned in the future. In November 2011, the joint project between Hibernia Atlantic, Huawei, and Huawei Marine, successfully completed the first 100G transatlantic cable connection between Halifax, Nova Scotia in Canada to Southport, England.
Transatlantic submarine cables aren’t new. In 1858, the first transatlantic telegraph cable was completed, stretching nearly 2,000 miles across the Atlantic at a depth often of more than two miles. The cable was tested and it worked, but it only lasted a few weeks. Another cable had to be laid by the British ship Great Eastern in 1866. The first fiber optic cable was laid in 1988.
Fiber-optic lines are strands of optically pure glass as thin as a human hair that carry digital information over long distances. It’s what allows large amounts of data to travel swiftly from one place to another. Most such cables follow the great circle route from London, England to New York City, U.S. because of the high-speed requirements of international financial transactions.
Huawei Marine boasts that Project Express, the first transatlantic cable to be built in 10 years, “will become an essential route on Hibernia Atlantic’s GFN, uniting hundreds of global banks and financial exchanges with a single connection.”
The research company Telegeography predicted back in 2009 that data capacity demands would rise by 33 percent between 2008 and 2015, and that new cable would have to be laid, or run the risk that current transatlantic lines couldn’t handle the increasing traffic.
Just last February 28th, CBS News did a story on Chattanooga, TN, the U.S. city with the fastest Internet connection. Chattanooga originally planned their fiber optic network to resolve power outages faster. Sheldon Grizzle, CoLab co-founder, told Jeff Glor of CBS, that the fiber optic lines give each user 1G of speed — 200 times the national average. It took years for Chattanooga to implement this, but now the city is an attractive site for developers and tech visionaries. Some would like to install more FTTH, or fiber-to-the-home broadband connections across the U.S. FTTH provides for far faster connection speeds and carrying capacity than twisted pair conductors, DSL or coaxial cable.
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has stated, “High-speed broadband is vitally important to our global competitiveness and the continued growth of our economy, and we must keep pushing for faster speeds and greater capacity through new investments in broadband networks. This investment has and will come overwhelmingly from the private sector, which is why it’s vital that we continue to focus on policies to incentivize private investment and remove barriers to broadband build-out.”
Meanwhile Hibernia, in conjunction with Huawei, is laying nearly 3,000 miles of cable across the Grand Banks off Canada and the North Atlantic. Two ships using 24 ton ploughs will gouge a trench in the sea bed and lay the cable. The transatlantic cable will connect with the already existing fiber optic cable network of Hibernia’s GFN that runs 15,000 miles between financial centers from Chicago to Frankfurt. Financial traders in the Global Financial Network may shave milliseconds off their connection with the highest capacity connection ever transmitted across the Atlantic Ocean.