Equinix, Inc., has announced an expanded relationship with Southern Cross Cables Limited to provide a key USbased interconnectivity access point for the Southern Cross NEXT (SX NEXT) submarine cable system. SX NEXT will leverage Equinix’s next-generation cable landing station (CLS) architecture, enabling rapid provisioning and cost savings for the cable network provider. 

Around 99 per cent of intercontinental telecommunications traffic is transmitted via submarine fibre optic cables, with less than one per cent of the remaining traffic carried through satellite systems. As demand continues to increase for a low-latency digital economy, especially with the value placed on artificial intelligence (AI) today, Equinix and Southern Cross are committed to maintaining low-carbon footprints of subsea cables by designing for sustainability, and embracing shared metrics, as recommended by Sustainability Subsea Networks.

The SX NEXT cable offers the lowest latency path from Australia and New Zealand to Los Angeles in the US, connecting into Equinix’s international business exchange (IBX) data centre 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 its access to dense, rich ecosystems of networks, clouds, financial and IT service providers. 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 per cent. Southern Cross also utilises 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 US.

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 centre inter-connections between key Equinix facilities in Sydney, Australia and the US West Coast.

Some of the key facts about the partnership include:

  • The subsea cable momentum has accelerated worldwide as digital transformation continues to increase globally. Equinix’s footprint of 250 IBX data centres 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 around the world.
  • Over the last three years, 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 that Equinix’s IBX data centres are close enough to the coast to be able to support a CLS deployment.
  • The need for additional capacity between Australia and the U.S. is driven by increased demand for cloud services, content and digital media and e-commerce capabilities, a clear sign of the growing maturity of the Australian digital economy. Content providers are the primary trans-Pacific bandwidth consumers, accounting for almost 78 per cent of bandwidth in 2022. Their market dominance only began in 2015; prior to that, internet backbone providers held the largest share of the market. Since then, the demand gap between the two has continued to widen as content providers have maintained their rapid growth over the years.
  • The trans-Pacific demand has grown at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 41 per cent over the past five years—significantly more than the 26 per cent CAGR of internet backbone providers. In 2021, the Australian Government announced that it is investing an additional AUD 1.2 billion to grow Australia’s digital economy by 2030, including investments in infrastructure, skills, cybersecurity, regulations, and digital trade.
  • According to the Global Interconnection Index (GXI) 2023, an annual market study published by Equinix, global interconnection bandwidth – the measure of private connectivity for the transfer of data between organisations – is forecast to reach 27,762+ terabits per second (Tbps) by 2025, representing a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 40 per cent, equivalent to 110 zettabytes of data exchanged annually, or enough bandwidth to support over 50 million autonomous cars each exchanging over 2,000 TB of data per year. This forecasted growth shows how organisations are rethinking their business to implement future-proof infrastructure on technology platforms.

Commenting on the announcement, Craige Sloots, director, Marketing and Strategy, Southern Cross, said, “We place high value on working with an industry leader that not only has a significant global presence but understands the intricacies of business in the Pacific region. Equinix’s deep industry knowledge and robust digital ecosystems – where businesses come together to exchange data, unlock collaboration opportunities, and form new markets – enables us to provide innovative technology and network solutions to minimise latency and improve performance for our customers. Trans-Pacific subsea connectivity will continue to be a key enabler in the region for many years to come, and we are excited about this next phase of interconnection through our work with Equinix.”

Meanwhile, Tim Stronge, vice president, Research, TeleGeography, said, “Bandwidth demand continues to rise at a rapid pace on the Trans-Pacific route. Between 2014 and 2018 alone, used capacity more than quadrupled from 16 Tbps to 69 Tbps; and demand experienced a threefold increase from 2018 to 2022, with the route utilising over 260 Tbps of capacity last year alone. With the ever-increasing demand for data transmission and the burgeoning digital economies of the Asia-Pacific region and North America, subsea cables are becoming critical infrastructure. These undersea networks are designed to handle immense data volumes at lightning-fast speeds, facilitating seamless international communication and powering the growth of industries like cloud computing, e-commerce, and digital entertainment. As technology advances and new players enter the field, the trans-Pacific subsea cable landscape continues to evolve, promising even greater connectivity and opportunities for innovation in the years to come.

Additionally, Jim Poole, VP, Business Development, Equinix, said, “As bandwidth reaches unprecedented levels, the volume of subsea cable construction has reached its highest point in the 165-year history of this medium. 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. By supplementing existing trans-Pacific routes, the Southern Cross NEXT cable provides seamless and accelerated interconnection across Platform Equinix, in turn, boosting the digital economy in those regions.”