Between the steady increase in post-pandemic remote working and the expansion into emerging markets, reliable network connectivity is increasingly important to businesses today. It is imperative that a company’s network remains available and secure 24-7 in order to maintain consistent operations. As a safeguard for this, successful businesses rely on multiple cable routes to stay online in the case of natural disasters or other problems along one route. A growing challenge for international companies, therefore, has been to figure out how to increase network diversification and reduce latency.
Thankfully, CEOs and Security or IT managers in Europe now have a broader choice in the matter. More reliable options have become available with an ambitious, state-of-the-art subsea cable network that will allow companies to diversify their network routes. Italy-based telecom giant Sparkle has collaborated with Google and other leading operators to build the Blue & Raman subsea cable systems. This groundbreaking cable network passes through Italy, Greece and the Mediterranean Sea on the Blue system, and Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Djibuti, Oman and India on the Raman system, linking Genoa all the way to Mumbai when the latter system is completed.
An Important New Digital Highway
An important part of this network is the Mediterranean segment. The innovative BlueMed cable is the private domain of Sparkle, a top global service provider, and shares fibre pairs and a wet segment with the Blue cable system. It consists of four fibre pairs with an initial design capacity of more than 25 Tbps per fibre pair.
Spanning approximately 1,000 km and boasting a capacity of up to 240 Tbps (15Tbps/FP * 16FPs), BlueMed establishes a new digital highway between the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and the European mainland hubs, resulting in up to 50% latency reduction compared to current land cables that connect Sicily and Milan. Particularly for companies doing business in France, Italy, and Greece, this exciting development means faster, more reliable connectivity insured against damage or problems on other cable routes.
Unlike other submarine cables, BlueMed sets itself apart by implementing advanced concepts like open cable and open cable landing stations (CLS) to provide competitive access to the cable termination points. Additionally, it passes through the Strait of Messina instead of the Sicily Channel, and lands in Genoa, as opposed to Marseille, the former main CLS for the region. This new entry point into Europe provides more flexibility for future submarine cables to vary their paths. The addition is such a game changer for the international telecom industry that Sparkle's Genoa Landing Platform won a 2022 Global Carrier Award for “Best Subsea Innovation” for its potential to diversify routes to other European landing points, its landing infrastructure's resiliency and scalability, and its minimal impact on the environment and city.
Strategic Route to New Possibilities
The BlueMed route is the culmination of many strategic considerations. Instead of passing through the Sicily Channel, the BlueMed cable passes through the Strait of Messina, helping to expand the global traffic distribution. As a result of the decreased pressure on other existing routes, global network resilience increases, a win for digitally diversified businesses everywhere.
The astute choice of using the cities of Genoa and Palermo as landing stations for the BlueMed cable is another strategy that opens the door to more flexibility and growth throughout the region and beyond.
Palermo acts as the perfect Internet hub due to its advantageous location near Africa and the Middle East, which are home to some of the fastest growing telecom markets and require a redistribution of digital gravity southward on the globe. Additionally, the city connects to all international cables that land in Sicily. When it comes to network diversity, it’s an ideal alternative and complement to Marseille’s existing CLS and the Strait of Sicily route, which has become the norm in past years and has borne the brunt of heavy digital traffic in the region. According to the CEO of Sparkle, Enrico Bagnasco, “With the landing of BlueMed in Palermo, we complete the laying of the Tyrrhenian section of one of the most advanced digital infrastructures in the world while reinforcing Sicily's centrality in the global Internet system." The mayor of Palermo, Roberto Lagalla, added that the improved infrastructure in the region “will be able to offer a significant improvement in internet services both for citizens and for telecommunications operators, enterprises and institutions.” Future Opportunities for Network Diversification
Sparkle continues to look ahead to new opportunities to expand and help customers meet their network diversification and latency needs. "Thanks to BlueMed, the Sicily Hub in Palermo is set for further expansion and growth,” said Bagnasco, “confirming itself as a strategic asset for the country's digitization and a key hub for data traffic in the Mediterranean region."
The future looks bright for Sparkle’s development of the cable system. The open landing station in Genoa has a scalable infrastructure for the landing of the Blue system cables (BlueRaman /BlueMed) that can accommodate up to six additional new systems. The main trunk of the BlueMed system currently connects Italy, France, Greece, Israel, Jordan, and boasts additional branches into France (Corsica), Italy (Golfo Aranci – Sardinia and Rome), Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Turkey, and Cyprus, but Sparkle is looking forward to connecting more regions in the coming years with further cable routes.
For IT professionals who are eager to diversify their networks and decrease latency in their coming digital journey, all routes lead to better business.