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Exa confirms network expansion plans from England to Turkey

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Exa Infrastructure, the US-owned company that owns the networks once belonging to GTT, is adding 1,400km to the 7,000km network expansion it announced in May.

Today’s announcement confirms what CEO Martijn Blanken told Capacity in a video interview recorded at May’s International Telecoms Week, and published in August.

Blanken said today: “We have spent our first year creating a new high bar for the long-haul telecoms sector by investing in the digital infrastructure, team and capabilities that Europe needs now and for the future.”

He said the new programme is on top of the €190 million for new infrastructure and upgrade projects that Exa announced in May.

“This new round of capital investment signals our intention to continue to expand our capabilities assertively, to deliver what customers need from a focused, specialist infrastructure provider. We are shaking up a sector that is hungry for investment by committing the capital and the expertise required to deliver new infrastructure where and when it is needed.”

Exa Infrastructure is the name, announced last year, for the former infrastructure division of GTT Communications. I Squared Capital of the US bought the business, which includes the former Interoute and Hibernia Networks, for $2.1 billion in a deal completed in September 2021.

Among the new investments (see map, marked in dark blue, with existing network in orange) are mainly focused on southern Europe, with a new 830km link connecting Belgrade, Zagreb, Ljubljana and Udinese in the northern Balkans forming a low latency and diverse route connecting the major traffic hubs of Sofia and Istanbul to western Europe.

There will be a 600km, high fibre-count cable route between Barcelona, Zaragoza and Bilbao “that will create a new high-capacity, low-latency link between the Mediterranean and the North Atlantic cable landing station and data centre clusters”.

In northern Europe, Exa will create a new route linking Ghent and Brussels in Belgium, and upgrade the cable between Brussels with Frankfurt, “forming the most direct and modern route between London and Germany’s financial heartland”.

Exa has already announced that it is taking capacity on the CrossChannel cable, from England to France, that was laid in 2021 as the first subsea link across the English Channel for more than two decades. In his video interview with Capacity, Blanken said that Exa will add its own cross-channel subsea cable.

Exa will also install a new high fibre-count cable route between Milan and Zurich, the company said this morning.

At the same time it plans upgrade many routes to 400Gbps speeds, using Infinera technology.

Blanken added: “Exa has moved mountains in the past 12 months to deliver on our promises to our customers, partners, suppliers and our own colleagues. This is just the beginning: we want to continue to offer the best and broadest network available with a team that is easy to do business with, in lock-step with what our customers require.”

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