Perth has firmly cemented its role as a digital gateway between Australia, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific region but the national boss of Equinix believes the city will continue riding the wave of new data centre expansions.
Managing director Guy Danskine said the volume of data around the world continued to grow at an enormous rate.
The Nasdaq-listed company runs 18 data centres across Australia, including three sites in Perth, covering more than 55,000 square metres in total.
In WA, Equinix also facilitates three sub-sea cables, which carry internet traffic, including two between Perth and Singapore.
“We all stream Netflix to our phones now, which is gigabits per second of throughput,” Mr Danskine, who previously worked at the data centre provider’s global headquarters at Redwood City, California, before returning home to head up Equinix’s Australian operations in 2020, said.
A gigabit internet connection transmits data at one billion bits per second — an incredibly fast bandwidth which translate to much less lag time when streaming videos, gaming or using immersive media such as virtual reality.
“Data centres are really the hubs of the internet,” Mr Danskine said.
“That means there is a need for more network, which include sub-sea cables and more needs for data centre services like ours.”
The company’s third sub-sea link, a 9800-kilometre cable linking Perth to Muscat, Oman in the Middle East, was switched on in October last year, further boosting Equinix’s offshore connectivity.
The Oman Australia Cable offers an alternative route for internet connectivity between the country, Middle East and Europe by avoiding the earthquake-prone path that currently goes through the . Strait of Malacca
It was recently announced the OAC would be extended by about 1200km to Salalah, Oman.
Mr Danskine said the Perth linkages provided an important gateway into the broader flow of global data traffic, which would otherwise arrive in Australia through a sub-sea cable ending in Sydney.
“When you measure the latency between Perth and Singapore, it is half of that than it is between Sydney and Singapore,” Mr Danskine said.
“If you are an Australian organisation looking to connect into South-East Asia, of which there are many, or vice versa, then having half the amount of time it takes to send data between countries can be a huge advantage.”
Mr Danskine pointed to the AUKUS submarine deal announced early this week to highlight the importance of digital infrastructure in Perth and WA.
“When you think about (what) is going to be required simply to support that and all of the ecosystem and industry growth around that, there’s a need for more digital infrastructure and stronger network capacity,” he said.
The deal with the US and UK will see Australia acquire a fleet of up to eight nuclear-power submarines, forecast to cost up to $368 billion between now and the mid 2050s.
WA’s HMAS Stirling will house the nuclear-powered submarines.
Mr Danskine added WA miners were some of the most advanced and sophisticated users of digital infrastructure, particularly through their use of autonomous vehicles and surveillance drones.
“All of the data that gets captured, analysed and distributed from that sector,” he said. “I think they’re absolutely world class.”
Mr Danskine said the State Government continue to view WA’s own digital infrastructure favourably, evident through a $900 million funding commitment to upgrade WA’s digital capabilities.