Subsea links, convergence increasingly key to Eurasia capacity

20 September 2016 | Jason McGee-Abe


Day 1 at Capacity Eurasia highlighted the industry’s views that more convergence, collaboration and tapping into data centre clusters and subsea cable opportunities are needed to truly create a mesh of networks to enhance the transit Silk Road routes of the future.

Emre Erdem, carrier relations and director of wholesale at Turkcell, kicked the day off in Athens, Greece, with his keynote address, underlining the operator’s recent opening of Turkey’s largest data centre. As part of its strategy of offering data storage and analysis facilities it also plans to launch two more facilities in the next two years, which would bring its data centre footprint to over 100,000 sq m.

“However, more connectivity between us [in the industry] is needed more and more today in the region to increase communications and internet access,” Erdem said.

These sentiments were supported by the panellists in the keynote panel on Day 1. Despite any economic, political or security concerns in the region, it is clear that opportunities are rife and alternative transit routes was the overriding topic of conversation.

Dino Andreou, CEO of Athens-based OTEGLOBE, said that it is “a gift to have new terrestrial routes” but strongly supported the future lies with more links to subsea cables. “We have invested in subsea cables such as AAE-1, a project worth €120 million,” he said.

Andreou added that as margins are tightening and with increasing capacity demand, particularly with the relatively swift move from 10G to 100G, the main issue at stake though is price versus bandwidth.

Charlie Cao, managing director of China Telecom (Europe), added that there are two key factors to concentrate over the coming years. “Firstly, over the next 1-2 years, how will we bring down broadband costs? And how will we then create lower latency?”

China Mobile is sealing more partnerships in the region and earlier this year, it partnered with Kazakhtelecom to deliver a low-latency, high-capacity Eurasia link at a total capacity of 110G. Cao said the project is ongoing and evolving.

In an increasingly connected and smarter world and with new broadband markets being rolled out, cloud services should be backed more, "particularly for defence and health applications," added GBI’s Eid. 

Apostolos Kakkos, chairman and CEO at LAMDA HELLIX, also highlighted the importance of data centre and cloud infrastructure in the region to support the region’s connectivity.

However, Eid said it comes with a warning tag in that regulators need to be careful not to over-regulate and hamper the growth of cloud services and the support and applications they will bring.