A vast network of undersea and terrestrial cables carry the data we use to connect to the cloud, stream content, shop, and socialise online. But capacity demand on these cables is increasing at around 30 percent each year, as cloud computing scales and as we continue to use more and more data. Paul Abfalter, our Director of OTT and Emerging Markets, explains how we are investing to meet this growing demand and growing our network leadership in the Asia-Pacific region.
As cloud computing and the number and variety of digital devices in use worldwide continues to explode, so too does the demand for the international networks, like a subsea cable, needed to keep them connected.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in Asia, which is now home to almost half the world’s internet consumers and where tens of millions of new services are enabled every year.
While Japan has historically been the primary driver of economic growth in the Asia-Pacific (or APAC) region, China is now the second largest economy in the world and is driving the most capacity growth of any country in Asia. As an example, we saw a 25 percent uplift in traffic across our IP network in a single day during the ‘Double 11’ or ‘Singles Day’ sales promotion in China last November.
In line with this increasing demand, we are investing in two new international subsea cable systems that will connect Hong Kong and the west coast of the United States. These investments will help us to meet the growing demand for capacity to support the growth of China and south-east Asia, and will maintain our position as the owner and operator of the largest network of Asia-Pacific subsea cables.
The first investment will see us partner to build the new Hong Kong Americas (HKA) cable, on which we will have a half fibre pair. Additionally, we will invest in capacity on the Pacific Light Cable Network (PLCN) that will also connect Hong Kong and the US. The investment will deliver the equivalent of 6 terabits per second (TBps) of new capacity on our network.
These two cables will provide our customers with greater resiliency, bypassing areas prone to natural disasters. They will also offer two direct, alternative paths to our AAG cable – on which we operate the most capacity and which connects South East Asia to the US west coast via Hong Kong, Guam and Hawaii.
These investments follow the announcement in April last year that we had entered into a consortium to build INDIGO, a new subsea cable system between Australia and South East Asia.
We are one of the leaders in transporting the data that enables millions of consumers and businesses to connect to the internet and with each other around the world. Our subsea network is a key part of our international growth strategy and the services we provide to large and emerging cloud and content companies, global and regional mobile and service providers, as well as multinational corporations requiring connectivity across APAC.
We will continue to invest to maintain our network leadership, and this includes a commitment to investing in additional capacity on the Australia to US route, as well as investing in terrestrial networks in China, Taiwan, Japan and the Philippines to expand on our already unique positions there.
The HKA cable is expected to be completed in 2020 and PLCN in 2019.