The last bottleneck to increase network bandwidth and lower unit costs in the Asia-Pacific region lies under the sea, and it's only a matter of time before it comes undone, according to Verizon network planning manager Chris Rezentes.
Rezentes, who spoke at the company's Verizon media forum in Singapore yesterday, said that the company is already deploying 100 gigabit per second (Gbps) optical networks in Europe and the US, but is being held back in the Asia-Pacific region by undersea cable operators who have not yet caught up with upgrading the equipment at each end of the fibre.
"When that's out there, you can build larger networks to accommodate the consumer demand that we're seeing locally, and you don't have to continue adding more and more of the networking. You can actually put up a 100-gig pipe between Japan and Singapore or Hong Kong and Singapore, and that's going to last you a little bit longer than today's networks."
Verizon appears to be counting on it this happening sooner rather than later. Rezentes said that it's only a matter of time before the subsea links in Asia catch up, and that it is already changing its offerings to suit customers who want to take advantage of the larger bandwidth.
"Our products are actually evolving now, [so] we're developing now 10-gig products for wavelength services for customers that actually see that demand coming. A lot of enterprise customers are saying, 'I want a 10-gig connection between Hong Kong and Singapore.' That's what we're shooting for. Our main objective is to get that main network in place, so that we don't have to keep adding."
The secondary benefit is that Verizon expects that the upgrades to these subsea cables will substantially increase its backbone connectivity, and, as a result, bring down the unit cost of providing bandwidth. While Verizon will be dependent on subsea cable operators, it expects the performance boost and costing to come down within the next year.
However, an increase in how the world has become interconnected via subsea cables, coupled with the need to only upgrade equipment at each end of the fibre to increase its utility, has meant that the organisations that originally laid the fibre may find themselves a victim of their own success.
"The people that build and actually support the implementation of the undersea cables, I think they're a bit worried. They're probably wondering, OK, what's going to be next?', because there's only so many other countries left that you can land these undersea cables to, and then after that, it's just maintaining what's in the water," Rezentes said.
Michael Lee travelled to Singapore as a guest of Verizon Enterprise Solutions.