The Time For A Future-Forward Asian Network Is Now
By Paul Abfalter
September 30, 2021
The global events of the past year have provided a long list of factors impacting the world’s cable infrastructure.
Shifts in policy and regulation in Asia-Pacific have resulted in a range of trans-Pacific subsea cable reconfigurations in the telecommunications market.
The Pacific Light Cable Network (PLCN), Bay to Bay Express (BtoBE), and Hong Kong Americas (HKA) systems are all in the process of reconfiguring their routes.
And, more than that, the environmental constraints in the Asia Pacific, shallow water fishing, and the risks of natural disasters increasingly reshape the landscape that telecommunications organisations are designing their plans within.
The reaction to the pandemic
These changes have occurred before we even consider the COVID pandemic.
18 months ago, at a network operator level, we saw the pandemic’s impact initially through skyrocketing demand for data as people around the world began working remotely.
The impact was enormous. International capacity use increased far greater than forecasted, driven by upticks in use of video for work, play and education, and large-scale SaaS adoption. Upstreaming capacity demands continue to hit the network hard, due to an increase in video calling, video-conferencing and gaming.
Our core subsea network usage rose the most in March 2020, seeing a 16-percentage point increase in over a single month. Similarly, IPVPN growth increased by 28 per cent in the same month. But, interestingly, IPVPN has continued to increase over time to hit new heights – equal to a 37 per cent increase from 2020.
And yet, under this enormous pressure, our infrastructure stood up well to enable people around the globe to connect with one another to live, work, and play.
Amid constant change, demand remains consistent
Connectivity into and within Asia is no longer just focused on the traditional hubs but is diversifying. While markets like Hong Kong, Japan, and Singapore have traditionally seen the most connectivity ingress, alternative cities are experiencing increased demand for connectivity.
Yet, not everything is changing. Demand for data, digital experiences, and diversity continue to increase every year. And telecommunications organisations must create long-term, proactive plans for subsea, terrestrial, and satellite networks to meet and exceed those requirements.
At Telstra, we believe there are three key focus areas telecommunications providers need to consider for the future of Asian infrastructure:
- The evolution of infrastructure in the world’s biggest connectivity hubs
- The expansion of connectivity to new markets
- The enhancement of existing infrastructure to optimise connectivity