The Middle Eastern Advantage

Why the Region’s Providers Are Best Suited to Support Global Connectivity

By Cengiz Oztelcan
July 22, 2021

As organisations in all corners of the globe seek to pursue digital transformation, the importance of super-fast, super-reliable connectivity networks is at an all-time high. Businesses must be able to connect to different global locations both directly and seamlessly, ensuring that latency issues do not have a costly impact on customer and employee digital experiences.

Now that cloud technologies are maturing and the rollout of 5G is gathering pace, some may have lost sight of the vital role played by submarine and terrestrial cable networks in high-quality connectivity. The reality is that 98% of all international internet traffic travels through them, and they have become the essential enabler for business-critical services.

There are roughly 400 subsea cables functioning worldwide, offering varying levels of connectivity quality and capacity. Pick a point A and a point B on a global map and there is likely one or more subsea cables connecting them. These subsea cables serve as the information super-highways of the world. However, for global organisations looking for connectivity, it would be naive to believe that all routes are created equal.

For a moment, let’s think about global shipping routes which provide an apt comparison for the importance of connectivity cable networks. The Suez Canal links the Red and Mediterranean seas, making it the shortest maritime route from Asia to Europe. In relatively recent history, the route has revolutionised the speed and reliability of shipping and has spurred global innovation. It completely removes the need to sail around the entirety of Africa, a route that will still get you from ‘A’ to ‘B’ but just in a much longer timeframe.

We don’t have to go back too far to see what happens when one of these routes is taken out of action, even for a few days. In March 2021, the Suez Canal was blocked for five days after a container ship – the Ever Given – became stuck. The knock-on effects saw price rises as goods were unable to pass through causing delays and shortages to global supply chains. In order to keep moving, some ships took the Cape of Good Hope route around Africa (the route required before the Suez Canal was opened in 1869) which can add up to two weeks journey time.

Switching back to connectivity, longer route lengths have a direct impact on latency which in turn affects an organisations’ performance. For those in Asia, the Middle East, or Europe looking to realise their digital transformation goals, latency is a considerable challenge and subsea cable routes that take data past South Africa should be an immediate red flag to potential performance.

That’s why subsea cable providers based in the Middle East are uniquely equipped and situated to deliver intraregional connectivity systems. Linking the three regions via numerous points of presence and cable landing stations, they provide the most direct route which contributes to lower latency and enhanced overall performance.

To continue reading the rest of this article, please read it in Issue 119 of the SubTel Forum Magazine on page 26 or on our archive site here.