Insights on ‘Connectivity in the current climate’
WIOCC CMO and VP International Business Development Mike Last, was one of the expert subsea cable industry panellists in a recent Submarine Networks World webinar, ‘Connectivity in the current climate – a global subsea perspective’. The webinar’s focus was on the challenges of keeping the world connected, while servicing increased demand – now more critical than ever. Other topics discussed included the recently-announced 2Africa subsea cable project.
”We have seen a very significant, coronavirus-triggered increase in demand for international capacity, from OTTs and content providers in particular, but also from others”, reported Mike. “WIOCC has been able to meet this marked and immediate increase in client demand thanks to our well-established hyperscale connectivity strategy, backed by investments in strategic infrastructure, making us one of very few players with sufficient subsea and terrestrial inventory to do so”.
He added: “To ensure WIOCC’s ability to meet the dynamic requirements of our clients throughout this period, we also made provision for extra network redundancy and increased sparing, secured “Key Worker” status for our field teams – so they can continue to maintain and upgrade the network and configure client connections during the Covid-19 pandemic – and put in place systems and equipment enabling all our employees to work remotely”.
 Panel composed of:
Paul Abfalter, Head of North Asia & Global Wholesale, Telstra
Mike Constable, CEO, Huawei Marine Networks
Philippe Dumont, CEO, Ella.Link
Eric Handa, CEO, AP Telecom (Moderator)
Mike Last, Chief Marketing Officer, WIOCC
Russ Matulich, CEO, RTI
Ricardo Orcero-Guillot, Network Investments Submarine Cables – EMEA, Facebook
2Africa cable and additional terrestrial connectivity
The panel also discussed the 2Africa cable, which will be the first subsea cable to circumnavigate Africa, increasing reliability, offering greater diversity and easing capacity bottlenecks. When it goes live in 2023/24, it will revolutionise connectivity in Africa – probably the fastest-growing capacity market in the world.
The discussion highlighted the collaboration between otherwise competing stakeholders who have the same fundamental needs, which enabled this huge project to get off the ground. “Even though this project has been quite a long time in the making, in subsea cable terms it has come together very quickly”, stated Mike.
Additional panel topics
The need to develop trans-African, East to West and North to South connectivity was also discussed and panel members confirmed that initiatives to develop more terrestrial fibre routes are being investigated.
Other topics debated included:
- where there was – and was not – a need for more fibre pairs
- the supply chain’s ability to cope with increased demand during this period
- how the typical 30-50% annual capacity growth had already been reached this year
- industry demands for more diversity, capacity and lower-cost connectivity.
- whether there will be more cables in Africa after 2Africa
- the impact of Covid-19 on private equity in the subsea space
To watch a recording of this Submarine Networks World webinar, please click here.