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By Brendan Press, chief commercial officer of GBI

Everywhere you turn, there’s someone using the internet to go about their daily lives. From video calls to using mission-critical technology in the workplace, the significance of connectivity in the modern world is obvious and potent.

To the everyday user, connectivity feels like it’s entrenched in the atmosphere and naturally travels at the speed of light. However, none of this would be possible without submarine cables, which carry 98% of the world’s internet traffic. You only have to experience some buffering when watching your favorite program online to be reminded of connectivity’s complexity and that, in fact, low latency and capacity aren’t always guaranteed.

The Global Content Revolution

Central to meeting the growing global demand for connectivity are over-the-top (OTT) service providers, including the likes of Google, Microsoft, Meta, and Amazon, who allow us to access streaming and downloaded content through internet-connected devices. They are on the frontline of connectivity and under mounting pressure to meet the needs of end users across the world.

However, such pressures go far beyond just data quantity. Modern consumers are increasingly looking for a hyper-personalized experience when using online services. Not only do they expect their connection to be delivered at high speed, but they also want smooth, uninterrupted connections guaranteed by low latency rates.

To remain competitive, content providers must continually invest in their infrastructure to maximize both the efficiency and reach of their services, of which the size, quantity, and location of their data centers are highly important. While collaboration with localized data centers is key, the importance of subsea cables must not be overlooked. They offer a last line of assurance that is vital for success.

Why Diversification is a Crucial Piece of the Puzzle

The continuity of connectivity is intrinsically linked to the routes that it takes. However, it isn’t as simple as spinning a globe in front of you and choosing where you want the data to end up. There are many stakeholders and factors involved to ensure that content arrives seamlessly at the right place at the right time.

In the current ecosystem, almost all subsea cables and traffic from West Asia, South Asia and East Asia pass through Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea on the way to Europe. This means that they are heavily dependent on a single route for all Europe-Asia connectivity — via Egypt. This can result in an overdependence, which can impact individuals, businesses and countries digital experiences. That’s where the alternative North Route via the Gulf and GBI comes in.

The North Route Provides Assurance

Leveraging cables and assets in Asia, as well as Gulf countries such as Iraq and Qatar, to carry traffic via diverse terrestrial networks to Europe provides a multitude of benefits. For example, circumventing the Arab Peninsula completely can improve latency, availability and stability.

It can also provide redundancy, which means users remain connected in the case of an outage. In a sector dependent on the constant movement of and access to information, this cannot be taken for granted. It is vital to ensuring the continuation of mission-critical operations.

As pressures on data cables reach an all-time high and new low-latency-dependent technologies such as 5G, IoT and AI move into the mainstream, key players are therefore looking to invest in diversified routes and locally hosted data centers in the Middle East. For instance, end-to-end remote peering capability is now available by utilizing various Gulf networks and landing stations. This means that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) can enjoy hassle-free remote peering as network providers will be a one-stop shop, enabled by leveraging relationships with suppliers in the region.

Ultimately, companies should shift away from their overreliance on the same cable routes. They must work with providers like GBI that can provide diversification and, therefore, confidence that connectivity will always be available, whatever the situation.

By diversifying our North Route so that it now also passes through Iraq, we are providing that assurance. When you consider that we also have our South Route that runs through Egypt, we are certain that our Smart Network is playing a critical role in keeping the world connected. We are removing bottlenecks and opening the door to higher-quality content and digital transformation, showcasing the Middle East as an attractive commercial destination.IoT, AI, South Route, Smart network

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