Optus announced in April to accept pre-order for capacity on the Southern Cross NEXT (SX NEXT) submarine cable. The existing Southern Cross (SX) cable used by telco providers and wholesalers today, is nearing end of life (currently expected in 2030). SX NEXT will provide continuity of capacity for Optus Wholesale customers for the next 20-30 years.

Mark Fleming, Senior Sales Director for Optus Wholesale, shared more information on what this means for Optus Wholesale’s customers.  

What is the Southern Cross NEXT cable?

SX NEXT is the latest submarine cable to connect the East coast of Australia with the West coast of the USA, and it's currently nearing completion, due to go live in the second half of this year.

The four pair fibre cable has a designed capacity of 72 Tbps and provides connectivity along a 15,857 kms route from Sydney to Los Angeles. The cable also provides connectivity to New Zealand and the South Pacific Islands of Fiji, Tokelau, and Kiribati.

What is new and unique about SX NEXT?

SX NEXT has been designed along the shortest route between Australia and the USA. As such, SX NEXT will be the lowest latency cable between Australia and the USA with an expected Round Trip Delay of approx. 135ms. This is a 5-10% latency improvement on existing cable systems.  

With an expected life span of 20-30 years, SX NEXT will provide capacity continuity for Optus Wholesale customers through to 2040 and beyond.

One of its key advantages is that it avoids Hawaii, which all existing Australia to USA cables pass through. Hawaii can be susceptible to natural disasters, which can impact and damage cables. SX NEXT provides much-needed diversity compared to existing cables which pass through Hawaii.

What services will Optus offer on SX NEXT?

SX NEXT and SX capacity via Optus Wholesale will offer three fully diverse and separate routes from Sydney to the USA.

SX NEXT is a single fibre cable, but with the integration of SX NEXT into the existing SX network, Optus Wholesale can offer protected services with failover between the SX NEXT and SX cables.

Optus Wholesale is already working on connecting SX NEXT into the Optus network, which will provide SX NEXT connectivity to all major Australian data centres.

SX NEXT will be fully integrated into the Southern Cross US Backhaul network, which provides direct connectivity into a range of major data centres in Los Angeles, Silicon Valley, and Washington state. Optus Wholesale, via in-country partners, can provide connectivity to most data centres and locations throughout the United States.

SX NEXT will provide all of the various options currently available on SX including:

  • 10Gbps Ethernet
  • 100Gbps Ethernet
  • 10Gbps and 100Gbps OTN
  • N x 10Gbps Carrier Ethernet services
  • Direct connectivity into major data centres in Los Angeles, Silicon Valley and Washington State.
  • Future support of 400Gbps Ethernet Client interface

Connectivity outside of Australia is also available on our international cable network. Most notably, the Optus Great Southern Route can provide customers with capacity from the USA to Singapore via Australia. Various options are available to drop capacity out along the route in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth as needed.

SX NEXT provides dual and diverse connectivity into the South Pacific hub of Fiji via Suva and Savusavu cable stations. Optus Wholesale can provide connectivity to a range of Pacific nations utilizing the many new cables connecting to Fiji, with connectivity back to Australia via SX and SX NEXT.

Which customers will benefit from SX NEXT?

The services offered on SX NEXT are ideal for customers looking for capacity from Sydney to the USA.

Customers considering diversity for services on existing cables should also consider SX NEXT as the cable avoids Hawaii altogether.

SX NEXT offers the most direct and lowest latency route from Sydney to the USA. Customers looking for the lowest latency route from Australia to the USA will be able to benefit from Optus SX NEXT capacity. Customers from, or selling into, industries requiring a low latency connection (such as financial services) can access the lowest latency Australia to USA route using SX NEXT capacity.

How can customers get started with SX NEXT?

Customers that are interested in SX NEXT capacity should reach out to their Optus Wholesale Account Manager for more information and pricing.

SX NEXT capacity can be ordered via the Optus Wholesale ordering portal; simply select the product - Lightlink Plus. This product is available to all customers with an executed International Data Service Description.

Optus Wholesale customers that do not have an executed International Data Service Description, should contact their Optus Wholesale Account Manager.

Source: Optus