DE-CIX, EllaLink and Interxion, have commissioned TeleGeography the study “The interconnection map of Southern Europe”, which analyzes how the expansion of data centers, the growing presence of operators in the cloud, the new submarine cables and the exchange points are turning the Iberian Peninsula into a strategic interconnection ecosystem.
The demand for internet access is increasing and, accordingly, also the demands for reliability, speed and interconnection demanded by users, which forces them to continue working on improving their infrastructure. Reducing network latency by bringing digital applications and content closer to the end user is one of the industry’s priorities. This is the challenge facing the Iberian Peninsula when it comes to deploying the Internet infrastructures of the future, as a meeting point for traffic from Europe, America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia, and with significant potential for users and companies.
The Iberian Peninsula, ever closer to becoming a digital hub for Southern Europe
According to Ivo Ivanov, CEO of DE-CIX, the ingredients for a region to be considered a digital hub are “high data concentration, interconnection, concentration of data centers, cables and capacity”, and in the Iberian Peninsula they all meet these requirements.
Since 2016, Southern Europe bandwidth has experienced a 30% year-on-year growth, multiplying its capacity by almost 2.75 in this period, reaching 150 Tbps of capacity between all territories. One of the most significant growth has been that of Barcelona, which has increased its bandwidth by 35% during this period and already reaches 5 Tbps. Madrid, for its part, grew 18%, with almost 15 Tbps.
Also, according to figures from TeleGeography, the number of data centers in major metropolitan areas in southern Europe has grown by 19% since 2016 to surpass 56 in 2020. An example of this growth is Madrid, which has presented a very high activity index and has become a key region that accumulates 25% of this type of infrastructure compared to all the cities in the analysis, and 98,000 square meters of space for data center placement in 2020.
Internet exchange points are the foundation of the Internet and they function as a link between the different interconnecting ecosystems. As the demand for greater connectivity between networks translates into higher location, the need for greater node distribution also increases. In fact, data sharing has changed dramatically in Europe in the last five years, with a 47% increase in exchange points since 2016 in the south of the continent, according to data from TeleGeography.
The data also point to an increase in demand from the cloud network ecosystem, due to increasing its connectivity with southern European markets. If you look at the entire region, in 2016 none of the large cloud providers had installed cloud regions in the south of the continent. However, in 2020 there were already two. In the next two years there will be at least eight, of which four will be located in Spain, taking into account the future regions of Amazon, Google, Microsoft and OVH.
Barcelona is also a thriving interconnection point, with the upcoming opening of a new data interconnection point by DE-CIX, and the presence of three major data center providers to meet the local demand of one of the ten most important cities in the European Union in terms of to population.
New underwater routes to connect the Iberian Peninsula with the world
Submarine cables are the infrastructure that powers the continent’s data centers and interconnection nodes, with connections to America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Currently, southern Europe has connections with 45 submarine cables, 10 of which connect with Spain and 9 with Portugal, with another 6 in the deployment process. Half of these new cables will reach the Peninsula: Grace Hopper to Bilbao, 2Africa to Barcelona and Lisbon, and Equiano to Lisbon.
Among the recent deployments of submarine cables, the EllaLink cable, which connects Latin America with Europe, stands out, the first to unite both continents with a direct connection, in order to boost this emerging market and connect it with the old continent more efficiently. With its access point to the peninsula in Lisbon, EllaLink will also allow, through Madrid, to reinforce the transatlantic connections of Spain, which in turn has connections in Bilbao with MAREA and Grace Hopper, the submarine cable announced by Google this year. past. Similarly, Barcelona will welcome its first international submarine cable with 2Africa.