The New Marseille: From Peering Point to International Content Hub

Chris Kelly of Total Telecom writes about the transformation of Marseille from a simple peering point to an international content hub.By Chris Kelly, Total Telecom
November 2, 2018

In today’s digital world, physical location is still critically important for the creation and distribution of digital content. One French city is a classic example, says Fabrice Coquio, Managing Director of Interxion France

As  the  largest  port  city  in  France,  Marseille  is  easy  to  picture  as  a  transportation  hub.  For  centuries,  Marseille  has  enjoyed  success  in  the  transport  of  goods,  linking  Europe  to  the  rest  of  the  world;  now,  the  city’s  geographic  proximity  to  not  only  the  Middle  East  and  Africa,  but  also  China,  India  and  Southeast  Asia  is  playing  a  strategic  role  in  the  transportation  of  the  world’s  data.

Marseille  has,  for  many  years,  been  the  landing  point  for  submarine  cables  carrying  data  between  continents  all  over  the  world.  The  city’s  unique  geographical  advantage  provided  cable  consortiums  with  a  transit  hub  for  traffic  between  Europe  and  the  Middle  East,  Africa  and  Asia.  Besides  being  a  conversion  point  for  subsea  traffic,  the  city  also  benefited  from  terrestrial  links  back  to  the  FLAP  (Frankfurt,  London,  Amsterdam  and  Paris),  the  traditional  innovation  centers  of  Europe.

As  if  the  data  converging  from  three  continents  weren’t  enough,  the  staggering  demand  for  content  from  these  regions  has  created  a  perfect  storm  resulting  in  Marseille  becoming  the  fastest  growing  market  in  Europe,  in  terms  of  international  bandwidth  shifting  the  city  from  a  peering  and  transit  hub  to  a  content  creation  and  distribution  destination.

Over  the  past  decade,  the  demand  for  digital  content  has  exploded—especially  in  the  emerging  markets  of  the  Middle  East,  Asia  and  Africa.  In  Africa,  mobile  video  consumption  doubled  between  2015  and  2016.  In  the  Middle  East,  70%  of  people  consume  video  through  their  phones  at  least  once  a  week,  and  Asia  is  seeing  strong  demand  for  gaming  and  sports-related  content.

Capitalizing on this opportunity has become a priority for many international organizations, which hope to find new revenue streams from the roughly 4.5 billion people spread across these regions. The underlying IT infrastructure investment needed to support the delivery of this content is of the utmost importance, and IT teams tasked with ensuring optimum performance for content delivery have found an ally in Marseille.

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