I first publicly presented the proposal of terrestrial connectivity between Asia and Europe at CommunicAsia 2011 in Singapore. Laying fiber along the Asian Highway, being fostered by ESCAP, across the seamless Eurasian terrain has been central to my advocacy for affordable broadband in Asia. It drew ESCAP’s attention, as Rohan has acknowledged. As a result, I was invited to explain my study in two ESCAP workshops during 2012. I have been consistently emphasizing on Asia’s increasing Internet connectivity with Europe.
Meanwhile, a new study of TeleGeography has revealed that Middle East’s internet connectivity with Europe has sharply grown from 51% to 85% during 2003~2013. It also said that less than 6% of South Asian capacity was connected to Europe in 2003 while it is over 46% today. Europe now accounts for 94% of international Internet bandwidth connected to North Africa, up from 61% ten years ago, and 72% of bandwidth connected to Sub-Saharan Africa, up from 39% a decade ago (Click on the picture). One may wonder – why Europe? TeleGeography answers:
The continent benefits from IP transit prices that are among the lowest in the world, geographic proximity, and is home to many large carriers and major Internet exchanges that provide rich peering opportunities. Europe also benefits from a multitude of submarine cable landings, and new cable builds in Africa and the Middle East, specifically, have enabled international operators to access inexpensive IP transit directly in European cities instead of connecting much further to the U.S. These factors also make Europe an attractive upstream destination for service providers in South Asia.
It reminds me of John Markoff’s scholarly article, “The era of the American Internet is ending,” in New York Times on August 29, 2008. He has referred to CIA’s and NSA’s concern about the global data traffic increasingly bypassing the USA. Five years later Edward Snowden has exposed the magnitude of American spy outfits’ interception of global voice and Internet traffic. Irrespective of this shocking revelation, the TeleGeography’s study shows that Internet’s center of gravity has been shifting from America to Europe. It further solidifies my argument for terrestrially linking Asia with Europe.