In part 1 of this profile, we looked at Hibernia Atlantic from the outside. Here we get to hear from the company directly. I had the opportunity to talk with Eric Gutshall, Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Eric has been with Hibernia Atlantic since its early days when it was little more than a mostly empty cable and a business plan, and has been an integral part of its development.
TR: Where does Hibernia Atlantic see demand coming from in 2009?
EG: In 2009 we see demand coming from continued Global IP companies like the Tiscali’s and Cogent’s, as well as HD Broadcasters and Global Financial Markets.
TR: How has the economic crisis affected your sales pipeline overall?
EG: Due to the global financial climate, we’ve seen longer sales cycles and more eyeballs reviewing each & every contract. Not a bad thing as everyone needs to be accountable.
TR: Your Global Financial Network launched during one of the toughest times for the financial industry in history. What effects have you seen from the crisis on its roll-out?
EG: We are not the incumbent carriers in these accounts which tend to have an embedded base of circuits…already nailed up. Hibernia is in a good position, having between 2-10 circuits into each of these financial customers provides us with tremendous upside and more opportunities. It gives us only the ability to grow unlike the at&t’s and Verizon’s which will inevitably lose business as consolidation of networks and financial organizations take place. We’re also connecting with new financial institutions such as algorithmic traders, market data organizations and financial exchanges. They are looking for new and innovative wholesale carriers that can provide customized solutions and builds. These financials demand a single connection into the GFN network that will enable them to gain access to over 750+ global banks, financial exchanges and trading platforms. These savvy customers require a nimble organization that can provide them with speed and accuracy. Speed to market and install our product set into their destinations of choice. Accuracy in what we say we can do…we will. For example: (We are providing these financial organizations with a 5~day turn-up…or a free month of service as a credit).
My seasoned sales & provisioning team have over 13+ years each in selling into this customer segment…and most are personal relationships going back into the mid - 1990’s. The big boys know us.
TR: You recently began building a land network in Ireland, connecting the North to the rest of the island and both of them to your transatlantic cables. Could you describe the type of construction involved? Are you digging trenches through the countryside or using existing conduit?
EG: Not much different than it was in 1858 with the very first TransAtlantic Cable into Ireland. www.transatlantic150.com On the marine end of the project, we still retrieve the cable by using grappling hooks. We then cut and splice this modern fiber optic cable and add a passive branching unit (BU). We then will “glass through” 4 fibers into Belfast via Portrush and 13 other cities in Northern Ireland as well the Republic of Ireland. On the terrestrial segment we will use some existing conduit systems and blow new fiber through these areas…and we also will get our hands dirty on a few “ditch witch” digs where required.
TR: Might there be other projects like this in your future?
EG: Outside of our base “lease capacity” business, we are involved in several new builds and new construction projects. Given our veteran team relationships, many carriers have come to us asking to design, build/lite, procure & maintain global networks for them. We enjoy these types of activities, it keeps our minds fresh and allows us to continue to create new opportunities and partnerships.
TR: Do you see any new transatlantic cables being built soon, or will the industry meet its needs via new electronics?
EG: For the next 18-24 months I see new electronics meeting demands. After that time period if existing cables cannot perform at higher bit rates to meet higher capacity demands, I would imagine that a new “diverse” cable will come onto the drawing table…and then it would be another 12 months out to design, lay and commission. I have neither heard nor seen any designs for new TransAtantic cables. The challenge for a new cable is the cost vs. price per unit. At some point we will hit a critical mass which will affect the entire www.
TR: Your network has a very unique footprint with two undersea legs connecting regional networks on either side of the ocean. How did this design come about, did you start out on this path in 2003 or did it evolve later?
EG: The “Hibernia Cable System” was a Tyco supply contract project name in 2001. The name Hibernia is obviously significant and interesting. CVC (Columbia Ventures Corporation) picked up the asset our of administration in 2003 from 360 Networks and kept the “Hibernia” name and dawned… Hibernia Atlantic. A name & brand that we are extremely proud to represent.
TR: What does Hibernia Atlantic see as its greatest challenge in 2009?
EG: Our greatest challenge outside of brand awareness is living up to our high expectations. Every member of Hibernia Atlantic team has that entrepreneurial spirit, passion and an extreme work ethic. How fast can we grow is the question we’ve been asking ourselves lately. Staying ahead of the curve to meet our customer demands has us looking toward future growth and westward expansion. Customers are asking us to build and expand westward and we are ready… With over 70 PoP’s and growing I suppose “where will Hibernia’s network expand to next?” is a constant and refreshing thought. I wonder what other telco’s dream about?
TR: Thank you Eric for taking the time to speak with Telecom Ramblings.
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