Marseille and the New French Connection

Ask most people what they know about Marseille and they’ll likely mention the French Connection, the gritty ‘70’s thriller. The southern French port city played a key role in the film (and was the actual location of the sequel) as a key hub for illegal drug smuggling into the U.S.

Fast forward nearly 50 years and Marseille is quietly making a name for itself as a transport hub of a different kind, for the carriage of high-speed data. As a story, it can’t offer an iconic train versus car chase scene, but we think it’s pretty interesting all the same.

Let’s start at the beginning of the story. After the boom and bust of the late ’90s/ early ‘00s, investment in subsea declined as owners of existing cables struggled to monetise the assets they’d built in anticipation of continued rapid growth in traffic. This situation carried on until about five years ago when investment slowly started to rise.

A new wave of investment has emerged. It’s not just traditional telcos and carriers that are investing in subsea cables, but large cloud and content providers that have a strong understanding of their current and future bandwidth needs. These organizations are then partnering with traditional carriers for landing and backhaul services, with the latter often taking dedicated capacity on the new cable as part of their payment.

This, in turn, is slowly transforming the topography of both subsea and land-based networks. Prior builds saw carriers build subsea services primarily to the main hubs such as Frankfurt, London, Amsterdam and Paris (FLAP), which has been sufficient to serve those markets. However, as demand rises in Africa and the Middle East for digital content new hubs are arising. Marseille provides a central Europe location that directly connects to the Middle East, Africa and Asia. It now acts as the landing point for seven cables which carry traffic to 27 countries across Europe, the Middle East and Asia Pacific. By 2021, two more cables will become operational, adding connectivity to five countries. You can find a full list of the connected/soon to be connected countries at the end of this post.

Zayo has invested in three fully diverse routes out of Marseille, with direct connections to multiple cable landing stations, which offer businesses and carriers extensive connectivity throughout Western Europe. The first route, a low-latency route via Lyon, is available for both dark fibre and 100G wavelengths. The second dark fibre route traverses western France via Bordeaux. The third route connects to Strasbourg via Milan and onto Paris, Frankfurt, London, Amsterdam and other European markets.

In addition, Zayo has invested in a new 100G enabled IP PoP in Marseille which means we are well positioned to meet the needs of our global customers, who can quickly reach every other network, top cloud providers and major content providers around the world.

If you’d like to know more about our own French connections and interconnections, please get in touch with Carl Peters.

Zayo’s new IP PoP is located at Interxion MRS1

40 av Roger Salengro, Marseille

Countries already connected to Zayo’s IP PoP in Marseilles:

  • Morocco
  • Cyprus
  • United Arab Emirates
  • India
  • Sri Lanka
  • India
  • Yemen
  • Greece
  • Myanmar
  • Algeria
  • Egypt
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Lebanon
  • Bangladesh
  • Thailand
  • Oman
  • Djibouti
  • Cambodia
  • Italy
  • Pakistan
  • Tunisia
  • Malaysia
  • Singapore
  • China
  • Qatar
  • Vietnam

Countries to be connected by 2021:

  • Somalia
  • Kenya
  • Seychelles
  • Madagascar
  • South Africa