Equinix becomes a gateway for Southern Cross NEXT subsea cable system

Sept. 26, 2023
SX NEXT cable boosts the capacity of Southern Cross’ Trans-Pacific networks by nearly 500%, offering one of the lowest latency paths to the U.S.

Equinix has expanded its relationship with Southern Cross Cables Limited (Southern Cross) to provide a U.S.-based interconnectivity access point for the Southern Cross NEXT (SX NEXT) submarine cable system. SX NEXT will leverage Equinix’s cable landing station (CLS) architecture, enabling rapid provisioning and cost savings for the cable network provider. 

The SX NEXT cable offers a low latency path from Australia and New Zealand to Los Angeles in the U.S., connecting into Equinix’s International Business Exchange® (IBX®) data center in Los Angeles (LA4). Southern Cross has had a long-term relationship with Equinix due to its global presence, expertise in providing state-of-the-art subsea infrastructure, and access to dense, rich ecosystems of networks, clouds, financial and IT service providers.

Additionally, the SX NEXT cable enhances network performance across industries in the region and boosts the aggregate capacity of Southern Cross’ existing Trans-Pacific eco-system by approximately 500%. Southern Cross also utilizes Platform Equinix® to provide critical on-ramps to the Southern Cross network ecosystem at SY1 and SY5 in Sydney, Australia, as well as SV1, Silicon Valley and SV8, Palo Alto, and LA1, Los Angeles in the U.S.

With the release of 400GbE (Layer 1 and 2) capability on the Southern Cross network earlier this year, customers can now take advantage of the lowest latency, secure 400G Data-Center inter-connections between critical Equinix facilities in Sydney, Australia and the U.S. West Coast.

Jim Poole, VP of business development for Equinix, said the growing appetite for bandwidth is driving an uptick in submarine cable construction. “Major projects are bringing new capacity into emerging and high-growth markets such as Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. And in well-established subsea cable corridors – including the Pacific – there’s new construction to keep up with the growing demand,” he said. “By supplementing existing trans-Pacific routes, the Southern Cross NEXT cable provides seamless and accelerated interconnection across Platform Equinix, boosting the digital economy in those regions.”

Accelerating subsea cable builds

Ninety-nine percent of intercontinental telecom traffic is transmitted via submarine fiber cables, with less than one percent of the remaining traffic carried through satellite systems, according to TeleGeography.

As subsea cable momentum has accelerated worldwide, Equinix is in a good position for its data centers to play a vital role. Equinix's footprint of 250 IBX data centers in 71 global markets across 32 countries provides the metro edge points of presence (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 worldwide.

Since 2015, Equinix has won 50 subsea cable projects and continues to track over 60 projects with go-live dates within the next two years. More than 50 Equinix metros are CLS-enabled, meaning Equinix’s IBX data centers are close enough to the coast to support a CLS deployment.

Transpacific demand ramps

The need for additional submarine cabling capacity between Australia and the U.S. is driven by increased demand for cloud services, content digital media and e-commerce capabilities, a clear sign of the growing maturity of the Australian digital economy.

According to TeleGeography’s 2023 Transport Networks Trans-Pacific Report, content providers are the primary trans-Pacific bandwidth consumers, accounting for almost 78% of bandwidth in 2022. Content provider’s market dominance only began in 2015. Earlier, internet backbone providers held the largest share of the market. Since then, the demand gap between the two has widened as content providers have maintained their rapid growth.

The trans-Pacific demand has grown at a CAGR of 41% over the past five years—significantly more than the 26% CAGR of internet backbone providers. In 2021, the Australian Government announced that it is investing an additional A$1.2 billion to grow Australia’s digital economy by 2030, including investments in infrastructure, skills, cybersecurity, regulations, and digital trade.

“Bandwidth demand continues to rise rapidly on the Trans-Pacific route. Demand experienced more than a threefold increase from 2018 to 2022, with the route utilizing 255 Tbps of capacity last year alone,” said Tim Stronge, VP of Research for TeleGeography. “With the ever-increasing demand for data transmission and the burgeoning digital economies of the Asia-Pacific region and North America, subsea cables have become critical infrastructure.”

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About the Author

Sean Buckley

Sean is responsible for establishing and executing the editorial strategies of Lightwave and Broadband Technology Report across their websites, email newsletters, events, and other information products.

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