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CNT Goes Cheap-Sea Diving

CNT (Nasdaq: CMNT) has teamed with service provider Hibernia Atlantic to offer transatlantic fiber optic connectivity for data replication, at what the companies claim is 80 percent less than the typical cost of such services (see CNT Takes Storage Across the Pond).

Hibernia Atlantic is using the undersea cable system deployed by 360networks Inc., which filed for bankruptcy in June 2001. Subsequently, 360networks sold its transatlantic system -- which cost about $770 million to build -- to Columbia Ventures Corp., the holding company of Hibernia Atlantic, in Canadian bankruptcy court proceedings for $18 million.

That pennies-on-the-dollar fire sale has enabled CNT and Dublin-based Hibernia Atlantic to offer a 155-Mbit/s circuit for roughly $10,000 per month, compared with as much as five times that with existing services, the companies say.

"It sounds incredible, but it does sound like it could be for real," says Julian Rawle, senior market analyst at Pioneer Consulting LLC. "They can afford to price very aggressively... We've seen a lot of these cable systems go bankrupt, but this is the first time I've seen anyone leveraging the cost advantage to potentially undercut market pricing."

CNT, which sells storage networking hardware and consulting services, has yet to sign up any customers for the service. But Gail Greener, VP of marketing at CNT, expects the relatively low pricing to catch the attention of companies that want to replicate data between the U.K. and the U.S. for business continuity reasons, but couldn't afford it before. "Now you can save a significant amount of money on these solutions," she says.

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