In the digital age, with ever-increasing connectivity demands, fiber optic cables are revolutionizing internet connectivity and global telecommunications to support innovation and growth. Telecom Review Asia interviews Nicholas Collins, chief commercial officer of EXA Infrastructure, to explore the pivotal role of fiber optic cables today and how EXA Infrastructure is at the forefront of providing Asian customers with reliable access to Europe's vast digital landscape.
What is the role of fiber optic cables today, and how does it transform internet connectivity and global telecommunications?
Fiber optic cables are the cornerstone of modern internet connectivity and global telecommunications, revolutionizing the way we communicate and connect in today's digital landscape. Digital infrastructure not only fuels economic growth but also creates new opportunities for change by enabling greater innovation across a range of sectors, from gaming and artificial intelligence to cloud, content and technology, as well as financial services and governments.
At its core, fiber optic technology provides the connectivity for high-speed, reliable, and secure data transmission, supporting the increasing demand for digital services. EXA Infrastructure owns and operates the most extensive fiber network across Europe and North America. We serve some of the world’s high-growth, hyper-bandwidth businesses. We are the digital highway connecting countries and cities that powers the internet.
In an interconnected world, the transformative power of fiber optic cables is substantial. They enable the seamless transmission of vast amounts of data at the speed of light, transcending geographical boundaries and erasing physical barriers. This reliability and speed pave the way for innovation to thrive — digital infrastructure plays a role in almost every aspect of our lives today and will be pivotal for the future. If we think about autonomous vehicles, real-time communication through multi-channels for medical solutions in healthcare, and immersive experiences reshaping entertainment and education — digital infrastructure powers the tools necessary to drive innovation and enable the evolution of innovation.
At EXA, we connect continents, countries and cities at scale. Our state-of-the-art network has been built with leading optical technology, which means it assures lower loss of transmission, resulting in better long-distance communication links. EXA provides its customers with straightforward products that they need most, with solutions fit for the exponential data growth we’re seeing today.
With the increasing demand for reliable connectivity in a rapidly expanding digital landscape, how does EXA Infrastructure stand out as a preferred digital infrastructure partner to help telecom operators meet new demands and scale effectively? Can you share the success stories of clients who have benefited from your offerings?
The demand for international bandwidth is more than doubling every two years, according to TeleGeography. This means that, as an industry, we need to be focused and committed to building the infrastructure that will support this demand and fuel further economic growth and innovation for years to come.
At EXA, we are seeing growth coming from four major trends, namely the ongoing adoption of and migration to the cloud; new technologies such as AR, VR and AI; the role of edge compute to support high-performance and low-latency applications; and intercontinental data traffic flows between different regions of the world.
EXA Infrastructure stands out as the preferred digital infrastructure partner by combining cutting-edge technology and our commitment to innovation, as well as by being easy to do business with. We empower our customers to seamlessly meet escalating data demands and scale with unparalleled efficiency in the dynamic digital landscape.
EXA has a rich 22-year legacy (from Hibernia Networks, Interoute, and KPN); we possess a wealth of subsea experience. Leveraging our extensive network coverage and diverse product portfolio, we stand out as one of the most experienced subsea cable operators in Europe.
Demonstrating customer success, we announced in May 2023, a partnership to connect our ultra-low-latency, high-speed connectivity digital infrastructure to Cinturion’s TEAS — Trans Europe Asia System. Cinturion chose EXA to land one of its dual-path connections of the TEAS in Pescara, on Italy’s Adriatic coast, to provide the lowest latency and most diversely routed links. Two separate open-access sub-sea and terrestrial links cross the Middle Eastern region, one via the Red Sea and the other via Jordan, continuing along the Arabian Peninsula and under the Arab Gulf and Indian Ocean. TEAS aims to provide an alternative to global data traffic patterns with cutting-edge digital infrastructure that strengthens connectivity between India, the Middle East and Europe.
In May 2023, we also announced our partnership with Digital Realty to extend connectivity across the Mediterranean. The Mediterranean region plays a key role in the global digital economy, interconnecting Europe with the Americas to the west, Africa to the south, and the Middle East and Asia to the east.
Additionally, in March 2023, we announced our commitment of €39 million of network investments to supercharging our digital infrastructure assets in the Iberian Peninsula, serving the growing traffic demands entering the Iberian Peninsula from Africa, Asia and the Americas.
How does the company's role as a major pan-European player enable seamless support for Asian-based customers with their connectivity needs in Europe and North America?
When we talk about intercontinental data traffic flows, we are referring to the data that is moving between Europe and other parts of the world. These traffic flows between Asia and Europe are growing in volume by more than 30% every year, on the back of the economic activity and innovation that digital infrastructure enables.
EXA serves a broad range of customers headquartered in the Asia region, predominantly across the telecoms, financial markets, cloud and technology sectors. These customers are looking for secure and reliable connectivity to support their needs across Europe.
EXA’s portfolio of 18 Cable Landing Stations (CLS), many of which are well placed in key locations in Europe, has a critical role in connecting submarine and terrestrial routes from Asia to Europe. As traffic demand continues to increase, so does the need for greater optionality on CLS entry points into Europe, which is where EXA has been making further investments, including two new landing stations in Italy.
Furthermore, EXA’s connected footprint of over 500 data centers across Europe and North America means customers from Asia have seamless access to one of Europe’s largest networks.
Can you share with us strategic plans in the pipeline to grow EXA Infrastructure’s partnerships and networks to value-add more industries?
Growth is at the absolute core of our ambitions and plans at EXA. We are hungry to strategically grow our network to serve more customers and ensure EXA is the leading connectivity provider in the market.
EXA’s commitment of €210 million towards network investment is unparalleled in Europe. We will continue to provide mission-critical connectivity to our customers and lead investment across the industry.
Our intention is to continue to expand our capabilities strategically as a focused partner and infrastructure provider for our customers.
2023 has been a game-changing year for us in terms of network investment and expansion, and we will have much more to share as we look towards 2024.