Portuguese Contribution for the EU Atlantic Data-Gateway Platform
By Manual Costa Cabral and Jose Sousa Barros
May 27, 2021
This article elaborates on the concept of EU Data-Gateways Platform and how it relates to three main vectors: international connectivity (submarine cables), data centres and interconnection. The article details in particular the EU Atlantic Data-Gateway Platform, in which Portugal is included.
The article also elaborates the Portuguese added value and contributions to the creation of the EU Atlantic Data-Gateways Platforms.
EU Data-Gateway Platform Concept
The concept of an EU Data-Gateway Platform comprises three basic key vectors: International connectivity (submarine cables); data storage; interconnection. The combination of these vectors has a growing impact on the competitiveness of a country or a region.
International connectivity relates directly to international accesses. The quality, affordability and diversity of international accesses are likely to increase a country or a region’s independence and relevance in terms of traffic interconnection. In addition, international accesses benefit from economies of scale, meaning that the more international accesses a country/region has the more attractive it becomes for new investments on international accesses.
In this context, submarine cables play a critical role given that around 97% of all intercontinental data is transferred through those cables. Bearing this in mind, one may establish an analogy between a common sea ports for Goods and Cable Landing Station (CLS) for Data. While the former allows to receive/send, store and distribute goods, the latter performs similar functions for Data.
The second element is the need to store larger amounts of Data. Literature and benchmarks demonstrate the synergies arising from installation of Data Centres near CLSs. This is proving to be a tendency that reduces transmission costs and improves QoS. In fact, such setting reduces the distance between content and consumers, making the use of the international transmission systems more rational. Power and cooling costs are another key factor for Data Centre location. A sustainability factor should also be considered as there is a trend to power these infrastructures with clean energy sources.
Finally, Interconnection. The capacity to interconnect several players in a diversified ecosystem is another key element of an EU Data-Gateway Platforms.
Interconnection refers to:
- the interconnection of several submarine cables (in the same CLS or not),
- the provision of non-discriminatory and open access to submarine cables by different players (operators, OTTs, etc.),
- the provision of direct and easy interconnection to Data Centres,
- the installation of IXPs or Points of Presence (PoPs), near CLSs and Data Centres.
In practice, interconnection extends the Telehouse concept in order to include CLSs, Data Centres and interconnection between all under one’s roof.
The combination of these elements gives rise to the so-called EU Data-Gateway Platform.
If we are allowed some boldness, we may say that the performance of a Data-Gateway Platform can be illustrated by the following equation:
 “Subsea cables and interconnection hubs”, DE-CIX