Empowering cross-continent connectivity with subsea innovations 

Empowering cross-continent connectivity with subsea innovations 

WIOCC’s transformative journey from a regional service provider to a global connectivity powerhouse is driven by strategic partnerships and investments. With a focus on expanding infrastructure and enhancing operational efficiency, the partnership with Telehouse is ensuring high-capacity connectivity in underserved African regions, contributing to economic growth and improved end-user experiences. 

Following its establishment in 2008, WIOCC is revolutionising high-capacity connectivity between Africa and the rest of the world to meet evolving customer requirements. 

The challenge 

After initially working largely as a service provider of reliable international connectivity to its 14 founding shareholders, WIOCC rapidly expanded its wholesale market position to become a neutral carrier, helping to meet the end-to-end connectivity demands of a wide range of African and international clients. 

Whilst major global cloud operators are increasingly extending their networks and migrating content into Africa, much of the continent remains underserved in terms of internet infrastructure, with poor connectivity hindering economic growth. 

The solution 

WIOCC is a key partner in the Equiano cable, a next-generation subsea internet cable deployed by Google along Africa’s western seaboard between South Africa and Portugal. As well as landing the cable into Group company Open Access Data Centres’ Lagos facility in Nigeria, WIOCC is also a fibre-pair investor in the system. This deployment is helping the company both to expand its capacity and to reinforce network resilience all the way from South Africa to the UK, increasing clients’ ability to reliably access the data centres, telco and carrier interconnect points where they need a presence by taking advantage of WIOCC’s open-access, carrier-neutral infrastructure model. 

High-capacity, scalable connectivity solutions are vital for cloud operators and content providers needing to migrate content sitting in the rest of the world into caches and Edge nodes in Africa, thereby bringing lower latency and more reliable services to consumers in those regions. With many of its clients operating European networks, Telehouse provides a hub for clients wishing to interconnect in London with their core networks. WIOCC is currently utilising 13 racks in Telehouse North Two, North, East and West. 

“Telehouse is one of the select few hubs we use in London, and it’s become a very important part of our network. All the data centres we use in London are interconnected with our own dark fibre, so we can carry traffic to wherever our clients need to connect. A number of our clients are already located in Telehouse data centres, so it made complete sense for us to be part of that hub to better service them,” said Jason Tutty, VP, OATS (Open Access Technical Services), WIOCC. 

The results 

By extending its Equiano cable investment into Telehouse, WIOCC can offer its clients high-scale, high-quality and high-speed connections between London, Nigeria and South Africa. The cable itself brings connectivity of over 150 terabits, 10x the size of any cable deployed into Africa previously. By 2025, internet speeds in Nigeria are projected to increase by 5x and to almost triple in South Africa due to Equiano. 

In terms of WIOCC’s operations, Telehouse’s extensive physical security measures, including perimeter fencing, CCTV and biometric access requirements, deliver high levels of reassurance for both internal operations and WIOCC clients, providing peace-of-mind that clients’ networks are safe. Engineers need regular access to equipment to ensure optimum uptime for clients, so Telehouse has accommodated such requirements to allow flexible task completion. The success of the partnership to date means that the organisation is planning further increases in rack capacity in the near future. 

For more insight into the collaboration, we speak to Jason Tutty, VP, OATS (Open Access Technical Services), WIOCC. 

Jason Tutty, VP, OATS (Open Access Technical Services), WIOCC

Why was it important for WIOCC to establish itself as a dependable provider of network infrastructure in the African region? 

WIOCC Group is Africa’s leading provider of comprehensive, integrated core digital infrastructure solutions and managed network services for the world’s leading hyperscalers, content providers and telcos. As such, it is critical that it can meet both the current and anticipated future network infrastructure demands of its existing and target client base, with very high levels of reliability a key need. 

How has the collaboration with Telehouse improved end-user experiences, particularly in terms of connectivity and speed within Africa, and how does this contribute to economic growth in underserved regions? 

Our wholesale client base demands that we connect with them at their chosen locations, including Telehouse, offer them the most direct connectivity between there and key locations in Africa – which we can do through termination of our Equiano cable capacity there – and deliver reliability over multiple routes wherever they require it. Telehouse is one of our key partners in meeting these requirements. 

What challenges were encountered from the implementation process with Telehouse, and what strategies were employed to overcome them to ensure success?  

Challenges in implementation have been minimal. Telehouse has been a long-term partner of WIOCC in London, and we have grown our network in tandem with Telehouse’s growth at the Docklands site. We have added colocation in each of the new buildings as they have become operational over the years, enabling us to add not only additional space and power but also diversity, whilst staying close to our end clients. 

Could you elaborate on how WIOCC’s utilisation of Telehouse as a hub in London has enhanced network capabilities and facilitated better service for clients? 

We use London Telehouse as it is where our clients connect, both directly and via LINX. It is also in the same vicinity as other complementary data centres. It also provides connectivity to Africa East and West coast routes into London. 

How has the Equiano cable deployment into Telehouse facilitated WIOCC’s goal of offering high-scale, high-quality and high-speed connections between London, Nigeria and South Africa? 

WIOCC’s strategic investment in capacity on multiple subsea and terrestrial cable systems serving Africa, is what enables it to offer clients high-scale, high-quality, high-speed connections into and out of key African countries – including Nigeria and South Africa. Specifically, its fibre pair level investment in the Equiano cable system is enabling the company to expand its reliability offerings and capacity, particularly given the largely deep-ocean routing of this cable – since deployment, it has made it more reliable than the other subsea cables serving Nigeria and South Africa, which more closely follow the coastline thereby making them more prone to damage arising from natural and human causes.  

What are some notable operational benefits WIOCC has experienced as a result of Telehouse’s physical security measures and flexible access to equipment for engineers?  

WIOCC can access its secure colocation space as and when required. We have our own team of field engineers on-site, and they are able to gain additional support from Telehouse staff when needed. Finally, the ‘goods received’ area is very helpful to us and there are good lifts and other services available. 

Looking ahead, how does WIOCC plan to further leverage Telehouse’s solutions to enhance the deployment of a world-class, pan-African, carrier-neutral data centre footprint? 

We are adding additional equipment into London as we continue expansion of our pan-African network in countries along the West African seaboard – including Nigeria, Ghana and DRC; on the East Coast in Kenya Mozambique and Somalia; and in South Africa – with our new multi-Tbps cable systems investments which include Equiano and 2Africa. 

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