Dutch comms industry appeals for greater subsea connectivity

Dutch comms industry appeals for greater subsea connectivity amid pandemic

19 May 2020 | Natalie Bannerman

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Members of the Dutch communications infrastructure industry have launched an appeal to government asking for the prioritisation of subsea cable projects.

In a letter sent earlier this month, companies including telcos, digital infrastructure providers, data centres, regional development companies as well as hosting and network providers, specified that the government “work on the landing of sea cables on the Dutch coast” as the current pandemic had shown the “importance of digitisation for the economy”.

It added that although the Netherlands can be proud of its reputation as a global data hub, that its “position is under great pressure” with both the business environment and its data sovereignty at stake.

According to group, as economic clusters exist mainly along trade routes, they see that the lack of new connections as a threat to put the Netherlands on the side-lines of the global digital economy.

"The fact that the Netherlands is now able to offer these direct connections is an important argument for digital and tech companies to establish themselves here.”

“They threaten to leave if the main route moves," says Stijn Grove, managing director of the Dutch Data Center Association; Michiel Steltman managing director of Digital Infrastructure Netherlands; and Andrew van der Haar, managing director of Fiber Carrier Association – the initiators of the appeal.

Competition is also a contributing factor, with other European countries are actively trying to attract new systems, in order to develop data hubs.

In addition, the loss of direct intercontinental subsea connectivity also poses risks to the sovereignty of data and information. As they will have reduced control over international connections due to its dependence on other countries and hyperscalers.

Overall, the group says that playing field in the international subsea space “has become too comprehensive and capital intensive for them to act alone” and hopes to proactively develop a policy with government to build out its subsea connectivity and in turn create a strong digital economy.