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Equinix acts as gateway for NEXT cable linking Australia and New Zealand to the USEquinix acts as gateway for NEXT cable linking Australia and New Zealand to the US

Equinix said its data centers in Sydney and Los Angeles now serve as cable landing stations for the Southern Cross NEXT submarine cable system that connects Australia and New Zealand to the US.

Gigi Onag

September 27, 2023

4 Min Read
Southern Cross Cables launches its NEXT cable system,
The aggregate capacity on the Southern Cross cable network increased by 500% with the launch of the NEXT system in July 2022.(Source: Southern Cross Cables)

Equinix yesterday announced that its data centers in Sydney and Los Angeles now serve as interconnectivity access points for the Southern Cross NEXT submarine cable system, which links Australia and New Zealand to the United States.

As part of its latest partnership with Southern Cross Cables, Equinix’s LA4 International Business Exchange (IBX) data center in Los Angeles serves as the NEXT system’s cable landing station (CLS), while at the other end, NEXT also terminates its fiber optic cables at an Equinix IBX data center in Sydney. This arrangement will enable Southern Cross to conduct rapid provisioning with significant cost-savings.

"Trans-Pacific subsea connectivity will continue to be a key enabler in the region for many years to come," said Craige Sloots, director of marketing & strategy at Southern Cross. “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 minimize latency and improve performance for our customers."

A high-capacity express route

Launched in July last year, the 15,840 km long NEXT submarine cable system cable is the third route in the Southern Cross ecosystem and adds much-needed trans-Pacific bandwidth for Internet traffic. It also provides the lowest latency path to the US.

Related:Southern Cross launches 400GbE services

The NEXT cable system boosts the aggregate capacity of the Southern Cross network by 500% to around 100 Tbit/s, more than doubling Australia and New Zealand's direct international connectivity capability to the US.

For context, Southern Cross claimed that this would allow the transfer of the half petabyte of data generated from the approximate 7,500 F1 2022 car wind-tunnel model tests in 111 seconds, or just over 300 seconds to transfer the estimated 10 billion photos on Facebook.

In January 2023, Southern Cross began offering 400 Gigabit Ethernet service on its NEXT cable system to support the demand for higher bandwidths.

The need for additional capacity between Australia and the US is driven by increased demand for cloud services, content and digital media, and e-commerce capabilities.

According to TeleGeography, content providers have raced past Internet backbone providers as the primary trans-Pacific bandwidth consumers, accounting for almost 78% of bandwidth in 2022.

“Bandwidth demand continues to rise at a rapid pace on the trans-Pacific route. Demand experienced more than a threefold increase from 2018 to 2022, with the route utilizing 255 Tbit/s of capacity last year alone," Tim Stronge, vice president of research at TeleGeography said in a statement.

Mutual benefits

Equinix’s expanded partnership with Southern Cross on the NEXT undersea cable network is part of its strategy to become more integrated with the submarine cable business.

To date, more than 50 Equinix data centers are "CLS-enabled" and are located close enough to the coast to be able to support a CLS deployment.

Since 2015, Equinix has won 50 subsea cable projects. The company has more than 60 projects in the pipeline that are expected to be completed within the next two years, as cable operators are increasingly partnering with data center operators to house their landing stations.

"A company like Equinix gets their customers better access to international networks directly coming into their building," Stronge told Data Center Knowledge. "The value of their facilities is dictated by how many customers interconnect there, So, bringing in a cable to your facility really expands its international reach and makes it even more attractive than it was before."

Historically, subsea cable operators would build their landing station on or close to shore, and customers using their subsea cable network would have to backhaul to a nearby data center.

Stronge pointed out the benefits that cable network operators get from their partnership with data center providers.

"The cable operator gets someone to handle all the headaches of property management, electricity, and power backup. It provides their customers – anyone leasing their cable – with a really good, rich network ecosystem to interconnect with.”

Potential customers for the NEXT submarine cable system include hyperscalers, other cloud service providers, research and educational networks, governments, traditional telecommunications providers, and Internet service providers.

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About the Author(s)

Gigi Onag

Senior Editor, APAC, Light Reading

Gigi Onag is Senior Editor, APAC, Light Reading. She has been a technology journalist for more than 15 years, covering various aspects of enterprise IT across Asia Pacific.

She started with regional IT publications under CMP Asia (now Informa), including Asia Computer Weekly, Intelligent Enterprise Asia and Network Computing Asia and Teledotcom Asia. This was followed by stints with Computerworld Hong Kong and sister publications FutureIoT and FutureCIO. She had contributed articles to South China Morning Post, TechTarget and PC Market among others.

She interspersed her career as a technology editor with a brief sojourn into public relations before returning to journalism joining the editorial team of Mix Magazine, a MICE publication and its sister publication Business Traveller Asia Pacific.

Gigi is based in Hong Kong and is keen to delve deeper into the region’s wide wild world of telecoms.

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