FEPL GOES BEYOND
Developing Asia Connectivity to US and Europe Via a Global Consortia Model
By Peter Bannister and Gary Kennedy
December 3, 2021
Fibre Expressway Pty Ltd (FEPL) is developing a US$1.5B technology ecosystem to make Australia a leader in global digital hubs and create hundreds of local jobs. Project Koete will include three Tier IV Data Centres paired to a dedicated-design subsea cable system to provide global and domestic connectivity in the region.
‘Koete’ is Japanese that means ‘to go beyond’ and Project Koete will provide vital data and internet connectivity domestically between Perth and Darwin, while directly connecting the cities and territories to international business hubs in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Japan and beyond in Asia Pacific and worldwide. It will be a major drawcard for attracting multinational businesses to the region and will
boost digital investment, particularly from the natural resources, finance, and cloud computing industries.
Project Koete’s vision includes:
- ENVIRONMENT: Koete aims to deliver 100% renewable energy targeting 30+ year scalability assuredness so customers have a growth plan for decades, not short to medium term.
- SOCIAL: Koete’s Indigenous engagement is key to Western Australia / Northern Territories and continues to seek interactive discussion regarding jobs and social & economic benefits and e-Health and e-Learning.
- GOVERNACE: Koete adopts a global Consortia Outsource model to reduce project risk, promote success and ensure the project will be delivered under world leading governance
Subsea Cables carry 95% of global demand driven by increased bandwidth for Cloud, Mobile and the ever-increasing demands of COVID for remote working, video conferencing, online education, entertainment, and social networking. Content providers such as YouTube and Netflix, and Internet providers are all actively investing in subsea cables with Google and Facebook able to fund networks. Global colocation and interconnect trends will attract more users to leverage subsea cables. Current growth rate of data running over subsea cables is 40%, reaching 6,000 Kilo Terabytes per month by 2022. Subsea cable capacity has gone from 6 to 24 fibre pairs with each pair supporting a capacity of 60 Tbps. Subsea cables will remain the principal way digital workloads will be transferred globally.
Project Koete will support the future of domestic industry and serve the growing requirement for secure, strategically positioned data hubs from global multinational-corporations, as well as be a gateway from Australia to Southeast Asia and beyond with an estimated ready for service date of 2025. The project design will be SMART (Science Monitoring And Reliable Telecoms) cable enabled. The project is being primarily funded by US1.5B in senior debt and equity, both of which are in progress and open for new investors.
The pre Covid-19 demand market size for Asia Pacific Data Centres was US$28B by 2024, 20% higher than the US$23.4B size of North America. Subsequently, the Singaporean government recently imposed a three-year moratorium on new Data Centres.
Data Centres are physical facilities used to house critical applications and data. Data Centre design is based on a network of computing and storage which enables delivery and sharing of data. Content providers seek carrier-neutral Data Centre facilities near customers and business opportunity. The Data Centre segment performed well above average over the past 18 months due to COVID and a 47% surge in global Internet traffic in 2020. This translated to a spike in Data Centre storage demand. Total Data Centre measurements in Asia Pacific Tier I markets (Tokyo, Sydney, Singapore, Hong Kong) were 322 MW in 2020, which was double that of 2019.
Project Koete includes three greenfield Tier IV Data Centres in Perth, Darwin and Dampier initially providing a combined 60-Megawatt capacity with 10,000 Kms secure, carrier neutral, high speed, low latency cable linking Perth to Darwin and Perth to Malaysia via Indonesia and Singapore over sixteen fibre pairs providing 5G capability and unprecedented reliability.