Hibernia Networks has suspended work on its Hibernian Express trans-Atlantic cable, which was being built by Chinese giant Huawei, due to mounting tensions between the US and China over cyber security, reports Capacity Magazine. The company was forced to halt all work on the project after key US carriers gave warning that they would not be able to use the proposed network for fear of risking the loss of lucrative contracts with US federal government agencies. The delay marks the first big casualty in the escalating row between the US and China over alleged links between Chinese equipment makers and the country’s secret services. The development also highlights the growing determination of US authorities to blacklist Chinese equipment makers from new infrastructure projects that could affect the integrity of US networks. Mike Saunders, VP of business development at Hibernia, told Capacity that the issue with Huawei will prevent Hibernia from beginning the buildout of the cable until Q4 2014, adding that, ‘There could be further delays. We will know exactly where we are within the next two months.’ Saunders disclosed that Hibernia has begun looking at other submarine cable vendors, including Alcatel-Lucent and TE Subcom, both of which submitted initial tenders to the company, and a final decision will be made at a board meeting at the end of March.
In September 2010 Hibernia announced plans to construct the first trans-Atlantic submarine cable in a decade, and in January 2012 it signed a deal with Huawei to deploy the planned USD300 million Express network to connect the financial centres of London and New York, with a branching unit to connect with Ireland.