People often don’t stop to think about it, but the internet and the myriad services operating over it are only possible due to a complex, interconnected network of fibre optic cables linking every country in the world.

As we increasingly rely on connected devices and applications in business and in our personal lives, the reliability and speed of the networks that transport data around the world becomes ever more important, and it’s only growing in scale.

To carry data for millions of consumers around the world at the speed of light, Telstra has amassed one of the leading global subsea networks. With the acquisition of Pacnet, a provider of connectivity, managed services and data centres in the Asia Pacific region, Telstra now owns and operates the largest intra-Asia subsea network system representing about 30% of active capacity in the region.  Laid end-to-end, our more than 380,000 kilometres of cables can stretch around the world nine times.


Following the Pacnet acquisition, we are investing further to enhance our network performance for our customers. For example, we are building an overland fibre cable in Taiwan to provide better services in that market, and then beyond Taiwan to provide a redundancy link for traffic travelling to Japan, US, Hong Kong and SingaporeWe are connecting our three cable networks landing in Korea and have a maintenance program underway to replace and upgrade parts of our cable network in Indonesia.

Also, in China, we are combining the Telstra and Pacnet networks into a single network, taking the best of both to create a new network with increased scale and functionality and the capacity to meet growing demand in China.

Our network has the reach any enterprise customer needs, especially if they are looking to do business in Asia.  But scale is only part of the equation. We know low latency (i.e. speed), ease of use, costs, and reliability are also critically important.

This is where the Telstra PEN Platform is critical as it uses Software Defined Networking (SDN) technology to give customers the opportunity to build “on-demand” high performance networks tailored to their needs. SDN is a game changer as it offers benefits such as on-demand provisioning, automated load balancing, streamlined physical infrastructure and the ability to scale network resources, offering quick and dynamic solutions to meet customers’ needs in a cost effective way.

A key challenge for any network operator can be the impact of extreme weather and natural disasters.  Last year, when Taiwan was hit by Typhoon Soudelor and numerous international cables in the region were damaged, even those that were several kilometres to sea, Telstra was well placed to respond to this challenge. The scale of our network across the Asia-Pacific meant we were able to alter network routing configurations and utilise capacity on alternative cable systems to keep our customers operating. Also, actually owning our network meant we were less reliant on others to undertake or approve repair works and to get boats on the water to repair the damaged cables quickly.

The advantages offered by Telstra’s network have been recognised by industry analysts such as Gartner*. We look forward to sharing more details with our customers about how our infrastructure can better support them, especially in the upcoming annual Pacific Telecommunications Council conference.

We are in an age where global telecommunications networks have to evolve in order to meet the dynamic needs of continued growth in mobility, big data, cloud computing and the Internet of Things.  It is clear that access to a high performing and reliable global network will be central to capturing the benefits of developments in these fields, and Telstra never stops driving our investment and innovation in global networks.

* Refer: Critical Capabilities for Network Services, Asia/ Pacific | Published: 27 July 2015 | Analyst(s): To Chee Eng, Kenshi Tazaki, Vincent Fu, Bjarne Munch

This post originally appeared on Linkedin.