Extreme geological activity such as a volcanic eruption, earthquake or tsunami is known to cause devastation and seriously impact a country’s operations. While most understand the immediate challenges that these natural disasters create, many are not aware of the impact that they have on one of today’s most invaluable commodities - the internet.
Traditionally, the world’s internet connectivity is delivered via subsea cables that can be affected by tectonic plate activity. This means that any cable running near an active volcano or country prone to earthquakes may cut out more frequently.
Given that 99% of the world’s data traffic is transferred via subsea cable, it is apparent how this can create disruption for many internet users looking to utilise these pathways.
The region of South East Asia lies near the intersection of geological plates, with both heavy seismic and volcanic activities. Japan is the world’s most seismically challenged nation, which presents challenges in delivering effective internet via this location. For example, in 2011 the Fukushima earthquake knocked out every cable system in Japan with repairs across the majority of these cables causing significant delays and service disruptions.
In 2018, SingTel and Optus invested into the Indigo Cable system, which along with the Optus investment into the Southern Cross Cable Network, provides access to a new route to Asia. Commonly known as the Great Southern Route (GSR), this new configuration provides a next-generation, ‘safer’ subsea cable network designed to avoid the two regions impacted most by natural disasters.
The GSR now connects South East Asia to North America via Australia. It starts with the new Indigo Submarine System which connects Singapore to Sydney via Perth. The GSR then utilizes the Southern Cross Cable System to provide a protected route from Sydney to the West Coast USA. Configuration options allow for route customizations along the network to provide connectivity to customer sites in Auckland, Sydney and Perth.
For customers, this new configuration provides an alternative route to Singapore and onwards via Australia providing diversity from existing US-Asian cable systems.
The system also complements Optus’ global connectivity that links Asia, the US, Europe, Australia and the Middle East. We can define this as a new data superhighway that allows Singtel and Optus to capitalise on the growth of digital economies across the regions.
The GSR provides Optus customers with greater network diversity and resilience which is essential now more than ever with increasing demand on video calling and data sharing.
In even better news, the development of the route continues. Optus is investing in the creation of more routes to reinforce our position as one of the leading providers of international data services in the region. It is exciting to watch how this development will continue to shape connectivity in Australia and New Zealand.
To learn more about our service on these subsea cable networks and how they can work for your business, get in touch today.