New Low-Latency Subsea Cable Routes Speed Global Internet Traffic

Equinix provides end-to-end access for several new cable systems

Alex Vaxmonsky
New Low-Latency Subsea Cable Routes Speed Global Internet Traffic

It is estimated that subsea cables carry 99% of all international communications traffic, including voice, data, videos and online gaming. So, it’s no wonder that the demand for new global subsea cable routes keeps accelerating around the world to deliver the low-latency interconnectivity required for accessing skyrocketing volumes of internet traffic. According to TeleGeography, as of early 2021, there are approximately 426 subsea cables in service around the world.[1] And many of them are landing on Equinix’s global platform.

Subsea cable momentum is connecting continents

The subsea cable momentum on Platform Equinix® is accelerating worldwide as digital transformation is increasing globally. Our footprint of more than 235 IBX data centers in 65 global markets across 27 countries provides the metro edge PoPs required to deliver low-latency interconnection for transporting increasing volumes of internet traffic. At Equinix, subsea cable owners/operators can deploy cable landing stations that open gateways between continents and interconnect businesses around the world.

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New low-latency cable routes are opening new markets

Since their inception in 1850, when the first undersea telegraph cable was laid between England and France, subsea cables have enabled high-speed communications between major continents across oceans around the world. Today, with the demand for higher capacity transport of internet traffic for applications such as streaming video and online gaming, private subsea cables—primarily operated by hyperscalers such as Amazon, Google and Netflix—are being deployed for emerging markets.

Equinix recently announced the acquisition of MainOne, a leading West African data center and connectivity solutions provider that owns and operates a subsea network from Nigeria to Portugal, connecting Africa to Europe and the world via 7,000 kilometers of cable and landing stations in Nigeria, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire and Portugal.

Now in full operation, EllaLink is the first high-capacity subsea cable system between Europe and Latin America. Delivered by EllaLink to Equinix’s International Business Exchange™ (IBX®) data centers—SP4 in Sao Paulo, LS1 in Lisbon and MD2 in Madrid—the new system provides a 50% increase in network performance between data centers in Brazil, Portugal and Spain when compared to routes that transit through North America.

Equinix was also selected by SUB.CO for the landing of the Oman Australia Cable (OAC) in our IBX data centers in Perth, Australia (PE2) and Muscat, Oman (MC1)—the only express cable to bring direct and secure, low-latency connectivity to exchange traffic between Australia and Oman, and onward to Europe. These locations will serve as strategic interconnection points for the 9,800-kilometer subsea cable system. OAC is expected to be completed in Q2 2022.

Lighting up LATAM

According to a report by Futurecom Digital, LATAM is one of the fastest-growing regions in the world for the content and digital media sector in terms of projected installed interconnection bandwidth capacity. In Brazil, the expected growth in entertainment and media expenditures is 5.5% (between 2019 – 2023), compared to 4.3% globally.[2] A primary goal for subsea deployments to LATAM, in addition to providing access to these applications for a higher number of users, is to reduce the end-to-end, roundtrip latency between each cable landing station (CLS) location.

The Malbec[3] cable, which lands in Equinix Sao Paulo (SP2 and SP4), enables high-speed access to network, cloud, content and other service providers in Brazil, dramatically cutting latencies from their North American counterparts. The 2,500 km Malbec cable is now live and ready for service. Malbec will link Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, Brazil with Buenos Aires, Argentina, doubling internet bandwidth capacity for that country.

Google’s Curie[4] cable system opened the first subsea cable route to Chile in 20 years—landing at the Equinix IBX data center (LA4) in El Segundo, California.  Curie is 10,500 km long and delivers 72 Tbps of much-needed bandwidth to South America. Curie lands in Valparaiso and went live ahead of schedule in Q3 2020.

Connecting core European markets like never before

The CrossChannel cable terminates in Equinix IBX data centers in London (LD4) and Paris (PA7) via landings in Brighton and Veules-les-Roses. Launched in December 2021, CrossChannel is the first subsea fiber-optic project laid across the English Channel in nearly 20 years. Ninety-six fiber pairs extend over 520 km and deliver over 20 terabits per fiber pair, making it the lowest-latency fiber network between London and Paris.

Equinix modular data centers are unlocking new markets

Today, Equinix is taking a more modular, brick-based approach to how we build our IBX data centers—inside and out. This innovative approach strips away complexity by using highly standardized prebuilt bricks that are assembled to support particular use cases or locations, and enables us to deploy a smaller facility with specific retail IBX capabilities much faster.

The Equinix Bordeaux IBX (BX1) modular data center is our first fully brick-based facility and provides a connectivity hub for a new cable, AMITIE, which will link France to the U.S. and the U.K. Another recently launched Bordeaux cable, Dunant, has higher capacity than all existing transatlantic subsea cable systems and will draw network services providers to these metros, which will bring in hyperscalers and cloud services providers that need to expand their cloud edge.

Our upcoming Genoa IBX (GN1) modular data center will serve as a strategic gateway for the 2Africa subsea cable system, coined “the cable of life”—connecting Africa, Europe and the Middle East. As a global interconnection hub, GN1 will increase connectivity capabilities considerably among the three continents, enabling direct access to the African market for industry ecosystems such as the energy, financial services and connected car/smart transportation sectors.

Learn more about deploying digital infrastructure on Platform Equinix.

You may also want to read:

Transporting Internet Data by Land, Sea, and Space



[1] TeleGeography, “Subsea Cable 101,” 2021.

[2] Futurecom Digital, “Addressing the Impact of Latency – How low can you go,” October 29, 2020.

[3] Malbec Launch Video.

[4] Google Curie Video.

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Alex Vaxmonsky Former Director, Business Development for Global Service Providers
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