Equinix Submarine Cable Momentum is Accelerating

Expanding access to subsea cable interconnection capacity worldwide

Alex Vaxmonsky
Equinix Submarine Cable Momentum is Accelerating

In the November 2020 issue of the SubTel Forum Magazine, I shared the global digital transformation journey we’ve had at Equinix with our submarine cable ecosystem partners. As submarine cable systems connect the world’s continents and carry approximately 99% of all international communications traffic, providing interconnection to those vital systems on our global platform is a critical component of our customers’ digital growth.

Next week, as a Gold Sponsor of the Pacific Telecommunications Council (PTC) virtual conference,[i] we’ll be participating in discussions with industry leaders around the new realities of building and interconnecting digital infrastructures including, subsea cable landing systems. Eric Schwartz, our Chief Strategy and Development Officer, will participate in an online panel discussion on Data Infrastructure on Monday, January 18, 2021 from 12:30 PM – 1:00 PM (PST). And I will be participating in a “Subcable Regional Round Up” panel that will be held on Monday, January 18, 2021 from 4:00 – 5:30 PM (PST).

Until then, here is a summary of our amazing journey with our global subsea cable partners and how we enable their digital transformation on Platform Equinix.

Interconnecting subsea cables to customers around the world

Today 40 Equinix International Business Exchange™ (IBX®) data centers are subsea enabled in 63 metros around the world and those numbers are growing. We provide the infrastructure and cable systems expertise to help offload cable landing system (CLS) overhead costs and the management of landing points across Platform Equinix.

Equinix Global Subsea-Enabled IBX Data Centers

Our most exciting contribution to the submarine cable industry is the implementation of new subsea cable architectures on Platform Equinix that provide a disruptive operating model while taking advantage of the benefits associated with an open cable model. We’ve modernized the industry by upending the decades-long practice of terminating subsea cables inside CLSs that are on the beach, far from high-population metros and business users. Innovations in optical transmission have cleared the way for a new interconnection model in which the cables land directly inside our data centers, close to the service providers and enterprises that need to consume their capacity.

Terminating a cable inside a data center is more cost-effective for a cable operator and removes traditional delays by eliminating the backhaul between the CLS and a data center or another interconnection hub. The end result is cheaper, lower-latency connectivity that gives cable operators the ability to offer customers fast, direct and secure access to rich cloud, network, content and other industry ecosystems inside our data centers.

We can also more economically support cable providers’ infrastructure requirements, such as power and cooling. We are increasing subsea cable providers opportunities in new markets by building our data centers where CLSs are being planned around the world and extending their optical domain between IBX data centers that are hundreds of miles away to service more customers across an entire region. And by bringing connectivity to digital and business ecosystems directly to the cable landing station, users will see a substantial increase in their application and data transfer performance.

Equinix’s subsea cable momentum

More than 30 subsea providers, including hyperscalers, deliver high-speed, low-latency bandwidth capacity to our 10,000+ customers on our global platform, which includes dense enterprise, content and media, financial services, network and cloud ecosystems. This allows our customers to collaborate with their employees, partners and customers instantly, across oceans and between continents, meeting their expectations for high-performance connectivity anytime, anywhere.

Due to our expansive global footprint of more than 220 IBX data centers in 63 metros within 26 countries on 5 continents, the subsea deployments we support in our global IBX data centers are primarily transcontinental in scope. Most recently this includes:

  • Southern Cross NEXT cable system, a private fiber-optic submarine cable network connecting Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Tokelau, Kiribati, and Los Angeles.[ii]
  • EllaLink’s unprecedented cable that connects Latin America and Europe for the first time.
  • Google’s Curie links Chile and Los Angeles.
  • MAREA subsea cable system that stretches from Virginia Beach, VA to Bilbao, Spain.
  • Crosslake Fibre for the first-time traverses Lake Ontario between our Toronto, Canada and Secaucus, New Jersey IBX data centers.
  • RTI cable systems land in our Sydney and Tokyo facilities.

These new projects are a testimonial as to how we can service the transcontinental interconnection requirements of all types of businesses, especially multinationals. We are continuously partnering on new projects and acquiring data centers that give our customers improved access to the expanding global subsea cable network. We’re working on more than 60 new global subsea projects over the next two years.

Equinix Global Submarine Cable Momentum (2015 – 2020)

In 2019, Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric® (renamed as Equinix Fabric™) won the PTC award for Best Cloud/Data Center/Interconnection Innovation. Our recently announced Equinix Fabric capabilities are changing the way digital businesses connect to critical infrastructure. For example, we now enable worldwide access to every subsea cable landing system on Platform Equinix between our global IBX data centers. We’ve also dramatically expanded the number of digital ecosystem customers that can now be accessed via Equinix Fabric, including subsea cable operators, with the ability to connect to any other customer on Platform Equinix. This increases the interconnection reach to service providers, partners and customers by more than 3x  ꟷ from 2,300 to over 10,000.

What’s next

We will continue to develop Platform Equinix to enable an agile, modular offering for interconnecting subsea cable systems to our more than 2,900 cloud and IT service providers, 1,800+ networks, business and digital ecosystems, and enterprises of all sizes. We’ll also seek out new geographic markets for subsea cable access and new technologies that make consuming subsea cable capacity easier and more cost-effective.

We envision a future where Equinix serves as the ultimate edge presence for landing station providers  ̶  covering ground, sea and space. Our goal is to aggregate all of these different transmission mediums globally on Platform Equinix and offer Equinix Fabric as the global on-ramp for digital leaders to seamlessly exchange applications and data traffic around the world.

Learn more about how your company can become a part of Equinix Fabric.

To schedule meetings with Equinix at PTC, contact@equinix.com.

You can also attend the Equinix Business Update on 1/20/21 that features a session by Royce Thomas and Eric Schwartz, in addition to 7 deep dive Table Topics for all PTC attendees.


You may also want to read:

Global Interconnection Index Volume 4

Addressing the impact of latency – How low can you go (EllaLink and Equinix sponsored white paper)


[i] PTC ’21.

ii Southern Cross NEXT Cable System Overview

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Alex Vaxmonsky Former Director, Business Development for Global Service Providers
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