The impact of digital technology on our everyday lives is impossible to ignore, but it’s all too easy to forget about the underlying infrastructure that makes that impact possible. In reality, our digital world is made up of a series of interconnected regions. At Equinix, we call these regions digital corridors, and we believe they provide the basis for thriving digital ecosystems, where business partners come together to exchange data, unlock collaboration opportunities and form new markets.
Australia provides a powerful example of what a digital corridor looks like. In recent years, increased investment in connectivity has emerged into, out of and around the major metro areas of Australia. This new connectivity is helping digital traffic move rapidly and securely both within the country and to and from other continents. Australia has become a particularly important digital corridor in the world today, as it’s both a vital thoroughfare for global data traffic and a growing digital destination in its own right.
Enabling global digital infrastructure stability via the Great Southern Route
Being able to move internet traffic over trusted connections has become a cybersecurity requirement for businesses and a matter of national security for governments. Australia is in a uniquely strategic position to help make this happen.
Routing through Australia allows subsea cable operators to avoid risks due to geopolitical conflicts and natural disasters in the Asia-Pacific region. This makes Australia one of the safest, most reliable locations for transpacific digital traffic originating on the West Coast of the United States.
In addition to its many connections with the U.S., Australia also offers connectivity with the Middle East—either directly, as in the case of the Oman Australia Cable (OAC), or indirectly via Southeast Asia. From the Middle East, digital traffic can then pass through the Red Sea and into the Mediterranean Sea digital corridor, effectively connecting the United States and Europe via a transpacific route.
This series of cable connections is known as the Great Southern Route. It provides a key alternative to the traditional transatlantic route linking Europe with the East Coast of the U.S. Crucially from a cybersecurity standpoint, digital traffic can pass through the entire Great Southern Route while always staying within democratic nations, and Australia is the critical linchpin that makes that possible. As a result, organizations that need to move sensitive data globally are free to do so while using trusted infrastructure only.
Growing digital capacity via the transpacific route
Investment in connectivity across the Pacific has continued with Southern Cross NEXT, which launched in 2022 to provide direct, low-latency connectivity between Sydney and Los Angeles, with an additional landing site in New Zealand. It was built to provide additional capacity along the same transpacific route as the original Southern Cross Cable Network (SCCN), which has been in service since 2000, and the Hawaiki cable that connects Sydney with Hillsboro, Oregon.
The need for additional capacity between Australia and the U.S. is driven by increased demand for cloud services, content and digital media and e-commerce capabilities, a clear sign of the growing maturity of the Australian digital economy. Between the original two-pronged SCCN, the Hawaiki cable and the new Southern Cross NEXT route, organizations now have several options for moving digital traffic between Australia and the U.S., allowing for optimal traffic balancing and redundancy. Digital ecosystems across both countries are now able to exchange traffic quickly and reliably, closely linking the digital economies of the two nations.
Source: Submarine Cable Networks
Expanding digital connectivity within the region
The Australian Government has also taken steps to forge closer digital connectivity with other nations within Asia-Pacific. For instance, the Australia-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement took effect in 2020. It is among the world’s most ambitious digital free trade agreements, and speaks to the common vision the two nations share for growing the digital economy across borders.
As part of the agreement, Australia and Singapore have cooperated to create digital standards that will enable easier cross-border data portability and allow organizations from both nations to collaborate on projects related to AI, Internet of Things, electronic payments and other emerging technologies.
Organizations can deploy infrastructure in either country while continuing to support the other. For example, deploying new digital infrastructure in constrained markets such as Singapore can be challenging. By deploying in Perth instead, organizations can take advantage of direct, low-latency connectivity between the two markets, backed up by the Australia-Singapore Cable. This allows them to grow their business in Singapore without having to grow their infrastructure there.
Of course, Australia also serves as a digital hub within the Oceania region. It has several direct links to New Zealand, and plays an important role in enabling digital connectivity to traditionally underserved island nations and territories. For instance, in addition to connecting Australia and New Zealand with the western United States, the Southern Cross NEXT cable also has landing sites in Fiji, Tokelau and Kiribati.
Equinix is the digital infrastructure partner Australia needs
The digital capacity that enters Australia via its many subsea cable landings is vital to the growth of the digital economy in the country, but the truly exciting part happens on dry land. Interconnected digital ecosystems of service providers and enterprises are springing up across the country to turn that bandwidth into business value.
This trend will only continue going into the future: According to the Global Interconnection Index (GXI) 2023, a market study published by Equinix, Melbourne and Sydney are set to grow interconnection bandwidth at a five-year compound annual growth rate of 53% and 39%, respectively. This means that Melbourne is expected to grow interconnection bandwidth faster than any other metro included in the GXI report.
This is a clear indicator that business partners in both metros are exchanging more data as they offer digital services to one another and collaborate to drive innovation. Much of that data exchange is happening on Platform Equinix®.
There are vendor-neutral Equinix IBX® colocation data centers in each of Australia’s six largest metros. These facilities provide the backbone for the Australian digital economy. Whether it’s capital markets in Sydney, mining and critical minerals in Perth or government services in Canberra, we’re here to help Australian organizations do what they do best—with the help of leading global partners.
We’re also constantly evolving our footprint in the country to keep up with growing demand. In 2022, we announced two new Equinix xScale® data centers in Sydney, to help serve Australia’s burgeoning hyperscale market.
We’ve also emerged as a leader when it comes to pursuing sustainable operations within Australia. Along with a consortium of other businesses, we received approval from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to partner in negotiating green energy purchasing. We believe this is an important step toward unlocking long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) that will help us support the growth of renewable energy infrastructure in the country.
To learn more about Equinix IBX data centers in Australia, visit our metro pages:
Also, for a closer look at how the rapid growth of digital ecosystems is creating new possibilities across the global digital economy, read the GXI report from Equinix.
 Interconnection bandwidth is a measure, calculated in bits/sec, of the capacity provisioned to privately and directly exchange traffic between two parties inside carrier-neutral colocation data centers.