Aqua Comms: a sea voyage to help India surf the data wave
Early this year, subsea cable provider Aqua Comms announced the acquisition of India-based telecoms company Openbyte. Amit Vyas, CEO for India at Aqua Comms, explains why this is important for both the company and the country, enhancing connectivity with the rest of the world.
With a population of 1.4 billion, a predicted 1 billion smartphone users by 2026 and plans to roll out fibre to all villages by 2025, it’s easy to see how huge amounts of data flow make India a key market for subsea capacity.
In line with the resulting demand for infrastructure, global subsea connectivity provider Aqua Comms this January announced the acquisition of Openbyte, an India-based telecoms company offering open-access landing services for submarine cables.
“The acquisition was made with one simple goal in mind – to enhance the digital infrastructure of the country and provide reliable capacity that is easily accessible without regulatory hassles or those relating to interconnection,” says Amit Vyas, CEO for India at Aqua Comms.
“Openbyte holds similar values to Aqua Comms, with a strong focus on carrier neutrality. This, together with proven experience on the ground, is intended to make it easy to buy capacity into and out of India.”
The acquisition supports the strategy that Aqua Comms follows of providing cost-effective and reliable global subsea connectivity, and working neutrally with partners in local markets for backhaul and terrestrial services.
With the launch of the company’s EMIC-1 cable also scheduled for 2025, connecting India with Oman and key European locations, India looks set to be a major global hub. To that end, it will be a huge source of and destination for traffic needing reliable subsea connectivity.
“From India, the plan is to ultimately provide a complete ring around the globe, with two or three different routes between each major hub for diversity,” says Vyas. “After EMIC-1, we plan to invest in more systems between India and Europe, as well as between India and Singapore.
“From there, Asia will be connected on to the US via our AEC network, which will mean we are offering truly ‘global’ capacity services, with a network both east and west of India which we will continue to expand, upgrade and diversify.”
By providing neutrality, Aqua Comms seeks to simplify the process of getting access to the Indian market. Many key data centres are located in Mumbai on the west coast, and Aqua Comms aims to make capacity accessible within the data centre ecosystem of Mumbai, with access to both Singapore and Europe.
Aqua Comms will also have the ability to provide all the necessary licences and services, plus access to all major data centre hubs in the region and a choice of backhaul through a broad partner network of terrestrial providers.
“We will have all the relevant licences and our services will offer multiple cost efficiencies, while removing the need for anyone working with us to have to navigate the complex regulatory and tax landscape,” says Vyas. “We focus on high-capacity products through which customers can create their international backbone easily by contracting with us.
“Time to market is also substantially quicker and a contract for service management can be put together in a matter of days. Given the interconnection and backhaul challenges the region faces, each of those elements could individually take months without our expertise on the ground.”
In a lucrative yet complex market, Aqua Comms now looks well-placed to expand the scope of its licence to include more services. With EMIC-1 landing in 2025, it will facilitate easy capacity services for customers and allow Aqua Comms to bring international traffic to local carriers running domestic networks in India, which can then distribute it to their customers via their terrestrial networks.
In that way, the company hopes to provide India with strong foundations for its digital voyage into the future and make the country a key cornerstone for its own expansion plans.