SUBSEA CABLE SPECIAL REPORT: Q&A Dino Andreou, CEO, OTEGLOBE
Dino Andreou, CEO at OTEGLOBE talks to Capacity about the company’s involvement in the ‘blockbuster’ AAE1 cable system.
How will the AAE-1 cable transform connectivity between Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe?
Asia-Africa-Europe 1 (AAE-1) is a 25,000km consortium cable system, the largest of its kind to be constructed in almost 15 years, linking South East Asia to Europe via Egypt. It connects Hong Kong, Vietnam, Thailand, with Malaysia and Singapore, then onwards to Myanmar, India, Pakistan, Oman, UAE, Qatar, Yemen, Djibouti, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Greece, Italy and France.
One of the unique features of AAE1 is that whilst it terminates at two carrier neutral PoPs in Singapore, it also continues further into Asia, via diverse terrestrial routes across Thailand, connecting Cambodia, Vietnam and Hong Kong. This route enables AAE1 to have one of the lowest latency between China, India, the Middle-East and Europe, connecting all the major markets on one route.
As such AAE1 will not only offer additional capacity in the Eurasian region but also much needed diversity and resilience to older, heavily congested cable systems along its entire path.
How will this subsea cable better support OTEGLOBE in its global strategy?
By investing in AAE1, OTEGLOBE is implementing its long term strategy to emerge as a strong, alternative hub in the Mediterranean basin, by building a fast, diverse and reliable path to connect Asia to Western Europe, transiting Greece.
Our landing station at Chania on Crete Island is the first entry point in Europe, very close to Egypt and N. Africa, from where we can offer fully protected backhaul to W. Europe through Greece, over a unique and diverse route which is not available in any other modern, high capacity subsea cables.
Moreover, by combining the extensive AAE1 reach to major Asian markets with OTEGLOBE’s strong regional footprint in Eastern Europe and the Balkans, we can offer new IP/connectivity options to Asian carriers and large Asian corporations towards major East European POPs as well.
Finally, by landing AAE1 in Greece we’re planning to extend our IP and data service portfolio to South East Asia, especially towards the fastest growing markets of India & China.
The AAE1 cable is approaching completion in the second half of next year. Are you happy with the progress of the project to date?
OTEGLOBE is one of the initial members and a landing party of AAE1, and has been involved in this consortium from its beginning; actually, from the very first meeting of the management committee back in December 2012. So it’s been almost three years now that we’re working together with the other members to implement AAE-1 project in time. The RFS date of the system is set at December 2016 and although we had, as a consortium, to overcome many difficulties along the way, it now looks more solid than ever.
Finally, how successful do you think the consortium model has been behind this cable project? Do you think it will inspire further generations of consortium-backed ‘blockbusters’?
Although AAE-1 is built on the standard consortium business model, usually met in intercontinental subsea cables of this size, it has important technical and commercial innovations that distinguish it from older Eurasia cables or other similar projects.
For example, all design capacity is distributed among members of the cable, each party has its own capacity entitlement established from day one, fixed between any landing points. As such, there’s no congestion reserve requirement or compulsory upgrades to overcome congestion issues, common in other cables. Moreover there’s no differentiation between trunk or branch. All landing stations are treated equally and the traffic between any two points can be on express paths. Finally, since the cable utilises some of the latest optical equipment, it will present the lowest latency figures in the market, with no full drop for a very long distance (above 9000 km) between Egypt and Thailand/Malaysia.
AAE1 is an innovative project, both technically and commercially and we want it to be a ‘blockbuster’ that will sparkle more sequels in the future.