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Covid-19 fuels bandwidth connectivity growth between carrier neutral colocation sites

The latest Global Interconnection Index survey from colocation giant Equinix highlights ripple effect of Covid-19 on connectivity growth patterns

The accelerated pace of digital transformation prompted by the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic is expected to cause a five-fold increase in private connectivity bandwidth between carrier-neutral datacentres by 2023, according to research from colocation giant Equinix.

The firm’s fourth annual Global interconnection index (GXI), which tracks the total capacity provisioned to privately and directly exchange traffic between telcos, IT service providers and cloud firms within carrier-neutral colocation hubs, takes a close look this year at how the pandemic is shaping supply and demand trends.

The pandemic has prompted enterprises to speed up their digital transformation plans and accelerate their move to the cloud to support remote working and accommodate social distancing requirements, and this is expected to result in a collective surge in total interconnection bandwidth across sites within Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), claims Equinix. 

“As the pandemic continues to accelerate the shift to digital, enterprises facilitating more remote working, such as telecommunications and cloud & IT providers, are expected to contribute to 54% of the total interconnection bandwidth growth in EMEA, outpacing other industries in the region,” said Equinix in a statement.

To this point, the report predicts interconnection bandwidth will achieve a 45% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in the EMEA region, between now and 2023. Eugene Bergen Henegouwen, president for EMEA at Equinix, said the bandwidth growth will play an important role in supporting firms through the post-pandemic recovery period, too.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has only accelerated the digital transformation journey that businesses across the region were already undergoing. Europe’s predicted 45% CAGR is indicative of the increased demands from enterprises to enhance their interconnection capacity in order to compete in an increasingly digital economy.

“It’s now even more critical for businesses to find innovative ways to interconnect with their customers and partners to gain a competitive advantage in an increasingly remote and dispersed environment,” said Henegouwen.

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Much of the projected bandwidth growth will occur in facilities sited in the four main European colocation hubs (Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Paris and London), with Europe alone expected to account for 23% of the global projected interconnection bandwidth growth.

“In London, interconnection bandwidth is expected to grow at the same CAGR as the wider EMEA region. This growth is at least three times higher than Paris, and more than twice that of Amsterdam,” the company statement continued.

“This supports London’s vital position as a strategic interconnection hub for digital business looking to compete on a global scale, despite the UK’s recent departure from the European Union.”

To this point, Russell Poole, UK managing director at Equinix, said the report reinforces just how important a colocation hub London is now, and will continue to be in the future.  

“This latest version of the GXI clearly showcases London’s importance as an international hub for enterprises looking to interconnect strategically with businesses, ecosystems and partners around the world,” he said. “London is predicted to reach 1,337 Tbps of interconnection bandwidth by 2023.

“This figure is not only higher than other key European cities, it also surpasses that of many other major technology hubs such as São Paulo, Silicon Valley and Tokyo.”

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