When the ASC opens for business in July 2018 it will open the door for a new strategic data route. The Great Southern Route (“GSR”) will connect South East Asia to North America via Australia.
Vocus International head Luke Mackinnon says the GSR is a safer trans-Pacific route which will be attractive to many organisations because it avoids the two regions that give traffic planners headaches.
“The area around Japan has a huge amount of geological activity,” says Mackinnon. “The country is on the notorious ring-of-fire and is the world's most seismically challenged nation. There are active volcanoes, constant earthquakes and tsunamis, all of which can disrupt submarine cables.
“At the same time, the GSR bypasses the geopolitical risks of the North-West Pacific region. North Korea recently threatened the US territory of Guam, which is a key point on many fibre routes across the North Pacific Ocean. There are also many trouble spots in the South China Sea where territory is disputed”.
The Great Southern Route will make use of the ASC between Singapore and West Australia. From there Vocus will use its own transit to New South Wales where traffic can pick up the Southern Cross cable network. When it becomes available it will also have access to the Southern Cross Next cable.
There are alternative routes from Australia to the USA, and users may want to work with existing partners. However, MacKinnon says the Southern Cross network and its planned successor both have low latency. “These factors mean the GSR will be the most likely choice for most customers”.
Mackinnon says there's a massive population within easy reach of the ASC which will connect both Singapore, Indonesia and the US via the GSR. “Countries in the region are seeing explosive growth in adoption of internet technologies — although often this is through mobile phones — not traditional desktop computers. "For people in the region the fastest route to the US is heading west, not east. All the cables carrying that traffic today go west either via Guam or Japan, both areas involve risk.
"When the big earthquake struck Fukushima in 2011, it took out every single cable system connection in Japan, only one was able to be restored fast. The others all needed repairs which meant delays."
Another benefit of the GSR is that when it becomes available it will be the most recent route featuring the most up to date technology. It is also likely to be the most affordable way of communicating with the USA.