Why global network expansion is the engine room of digital disruption

March 14, 2022

4 min read

Man drawing Cloud network design

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The sheer pace of digital transformation (DX) adoption across every industry around the world is staggering. According to research house IDC, 65 per cent of the global GDP will be digitalised by 2022 and will drive over $6.8 trillion of direct DX investments from 2020 to 2023.

Digitally mature companies that place technology at the core of their business strategies are transforming industries all over the world. With more advanced technologies and an increased use of video for collaboration and cloud connectivity, demand for data has never been higher.

This is having a profound impact on the world’s networking infrastructure, and in particular, global subsea cable networks. This intricate global web of interconnected cables is critical for the function of the internet and serves as the critical foundation for global digital disruption.

According to the Information technology & Innovation foundation (Itif), about 99% of global data traffic passes through the world’s subsea cable network, which spans about 1.2 million kilometres and processes $10 trillion worth of financial transactions every day.

To support the massive acceleration of bandwidth demand that digital transformation initiatives require, it’s critical that the world’s subsea infrastructure continues to expand and evolve. As a leading global carrier, it’s our job to support that evolution through constant investments in both new and existing cable infrastructure to ensure extra capacity is always available.

Navigating a new model for cable development and partnership

We recognise that we’re not in this alone. While traditionally carrier consortiums dominated new cable builds, the industry has seen a considerable uptick in investment from global OTT companies and content providers, as their capacity needs skyrocketed over the last decade.

This is forging a new, more populated ecosystem of cable ownership. According to Telegeography, the industry will see more than $8 billion worth of investment over the next few years. While OTTs are an important part of this, there remains an enormous opportunity for carriers as well.

In this new world of cable infrastructure, strategic partnerships between operators, carriers, equipment providers, and OTTs are critical for sustaining growth in the wake of sharp shifts in traffic. These partnerships must be premised on shared values and goals, with each partner bringing a unique set of skills and proficiencies to the table.

For us, that’s about using our extensive expertise and infrastructure to connect organisations to new opportunities into, within, and out of Asia. In fact, around a third of IP traffic currently runs through our subsea cable network in the region.

We’re executing on this opportunity with a range of new investments for the future, including new cables, more lit capacity, and additional Points of Presence (PoPs) throughout the Asia Pacific region. 

A flexible network that caters to disruptive business models

Digital transformation is incredibly data-hungry and needs an adaptive approach to network provisioning to succeed.

We envision a world where connectivity and bandwidth can be scaled up and down at will, flowing like water from a tap. This presents major challenges, especially considering Asia-specific threats like natural disasters and shallow water fishing that leave cables prone to damage.

The diversity of our subsea cable investments ensures customers always have access to the fastest connectivity and the most direct routes for their latency-sensitive applications. Our expertise in the Asia pacific region also means that if cables go down, we have teams on the ground that can ensure repairs are carried out as quickly and as safely as possible.

This innovation at an underlay level supports our adaptive overlay technologies, such as SD-WAN, which offers even higher degrees of flexibility through routing traffic through geo-diverse paths to cater to sharp increases in demand.

Telstra’s Programmable Network also offers a network-as-a-service function that does away with fixed bandwidth agreements and rigid annual contracts, in favour of a highly scalable set of solutions that can be changed as needed to suit an organisation’s needs.

The network sits right at the centre of digital transformation. Customers are increasingly expecting connectivity that can be scaled up and down at will and carriers must meet this challenge in order for these initiatives to succeed

The world’s best digital thinkers are poised to make an incredible impact on the way we live and work in the next few decades. We’re committed to providing the bandwidth that supports that, providing a sound foundation for the future of digital disruption.

To find which Asian centres are rising to become critical connectivity hubs for the future, read our report “Asia connectivity moves East”.