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Interview with Luke Mackinnon, Vocus Communications

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International connectivity to Perth has long been subjected to the vulnerability of the SEA-ME-WE 3 cable, as the sole subsea cable serving Perth from overseas via Singapore. Despite attempts by several cable projects all vying to build on the Perth-Singapore route and provide some much-needed diversity and increased reliability, many have struggled with getting in capital over the past years, and it’s only been over the last year that the industry has seen significant progress for this route, with the Vocus-led Australia Singapore Cable and INDIGO cable system finally taking off and projected RFS dates in 2018 and 2019 respectively.

With the SEA-ME-WE 3 cable down again due to recent tropical storms, the progress of both ASC and INDIGO must come as a welcome to many. Particularly for Vocus, which announced in late-August that ASC is scheduled for an early delivery. We recently caught up with Luke Mackinnon, Head of Vocus International where he shares more on plans for the cable and some thoughts on the industry.

  1. In one sentence, how would you describe the state of the subsea communications industry today?Luke - Bio

It is a challenging time in the submarine cable space. OTTs are having a massive influence on the topology of the global internet and shifting  demand considerably, this combined with their direct participation in submarine cable investment is creating significant challenge for traditional builders and owners to justify continued investment.

  1. How do you see the industry evolving in the next 5 years?

With a huge amount of build activity currently underway it will be interesting to see if supply will meet demand as global internet adoption continues to grow and 5G begins to rollout within the next 5 years, massively enabling ubiquitous high speed broadband to the masses. I see continued investment in open systems becoming the norm.

  1. What do you think is one key challenge facing the industry today? How do you think it can be overcome?

The difficulty of the investment case due to the shift in the industry influenced by the OTTs is probably the greatest challenge. Industry will need to rethink the consortium and investment models to embrace the OTT influence to ensure continued investment.

  1. Why are you excited to be at Submarine Networks World 2017?

I am excited to be attending Submarine World to ensure as many in the industry know about the Australia Singapore Cable, and importance of this cable to enabling new routes to the US from South East Asia.

  1. Can you give us an overview of what you’ll be sharing with the audience at Submarine Networks World 2017?

We are looking forward to sharing detailed updates on the progress of the ASC project and talking to carriers, operators and OTTs in the South East Asian region about the truly diverse southern hemisphere route Vocus is opening up with ASC, to provide true diversity to the heavily congested, geo-politically and geologically sensitive regions around Japan and Guan that are becoming more risky for the vast majority of todays trans-pacific capacity.

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Be sure to catch Luke onsite and check out ASC’s poster during this year’s Cable Project Poster Session happening on 26th September at Submarine Networks World 2017 (25-27 September, Singapore)If you have burning questions on the project, you’ll have a chance to ask him directly during the Project Developers’  Roundtable, and find out more on how you can partner with the team.

Luke will be joined by over 500 industry leaders at the only annual platform dedicated for the subsea communications community to meet, exchange knowledge and develop new strategies and partnerships.

For more information, download the latest conference brochure.  Early bird discounts are still available, so get your passes here.

Keen to learn more? Get in touch with the team:

Hazel Chen | +65 6322 2730
Regina Koh | +65 6322 2308

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