The Canadian research ship Coriolis II will set out next month from Halifax to survey parts of the continental shelf stretching 1,000 miles off the east coast of Nova Scotia. The ship has been hired by Hibernia Atlantic, a New Jersey company that operates undersea telecom cables, to map out a new $300 million trans-Atlantic fiber-optic line called Project Express.
The cable will stretch 3,000 miles beneath the North Atlantic, connecting financial markets in London and New York at record transmission speeds. A small group of U.S. and European high-speed trading firms will pay steep fees to use the cable.
When it opens in 2013, Project Express will be the fastest cable across the Atlantic, reducing the time it takes data to travel round-trip between New York and London to 59.6 milliseconds from the current top speed of 64.8 milliseconds, according to Hibernia Atlantic. That might not seem like a big deal, but to the handful of electronic trading firms that will have exclusive access to the cable, it will be a huge advantage.