“Marseille is the gateway into Europe,” says Clatterbuck

10 July 2018 | Natalie Bannerman


The keynote panel at this year’s Subsea EMEA conference, fuelling the international subsea market place that Byron Clatterbuck, CEO of Seacom says “is the gateway into Europe”.

“At Seacom we sell to corporate customers who really buy into the IP cloud, we sell to ISPs who sell an IP transit service and then we sell lone lines to other carriers who have their own designs for their network. So if the corporates when to have a headquarters in Amsterdam and want a 1G link into Amsterdam they’ll go through Marseille to get to Amsterdam. More and more we see people go through Marseille to connect to the internet cloud.”

But fellow panellist Andrew McGrath, SVP of connectivity at Vodafone Carrier Services, said that while Marseille is a crucial hub from Vodafone’s perspective “we enjoy competition” adding that “diversity and other options are important to us as well.”

He said that locations with good connectivity and data centres are the kinds Vodafone is looking at for connectivity to the East side of Africa for cables, landings in Italy, data centres in Palermo or Milan are areas of interest and for cables coming round the west side of Africa he said areas like the Iberian Peninsula – Portugal and Spain being the obvious places.  

When panel moderator Tim Stronge, VP of research at Telegeography questioned the panellists on why most Middle East and African connectivity is still hubbed through Europe and not direct to these regions, Willem Marais, group chief business development officer at Liquid Telecom said: “If we consider the development of subsea and terrestrial networks on the African continent over the last 7 years or so, your international transit pricing back then you were looking at $3,500-$5,000 and we’re now trading at under $5 a meg. In addition major content providers have yet to deploy huge content networks on the African continent. But investment is being made and we’re starting to see the start of much of that data being offloaded to Africa and not routed back to Europe.”

To conclude Pierre-Louis de Guillebon, CEO of Orange International Carriers, said: “I think one of the many shortfalls for the continent is access to the internet because In some countries you only have one or two cables, if it gets cut the internet goes down. So we really have to develop the access to these networks in these countries.”