The acceleration of internet uses is dizzying. Telecoms operators are facilitating this exponential growth thanks to the performance and agility of their data networks. These links travel over land, through the air and under the sea so people can access ever more information and communicate all around the world. Jérôme Barré, CEO of Orange Wholesale & International Networks, explains the key role of our telecoms networks, whether on land or under the ocean.
Jérôme Barré, in your role as CEO of Orange Wholesale & International Networks, what’s your view on the development of the internet and its uses?
Jérôme Barré: The internet has only been accessible to the public for the last thirty years, yet its expansion can give you vertigo. In just a few decades, we’ve gone from a simple web search on a computer to always-on social media, massive content production across all screens and the Internet of Things. Today, computers, connected devices, tablets and smartphones are constantly connected to the world. By the end of 2022, it’s estimated that the volume of data transmitted will multiply by eight!
By the end of 2022, it’s estimated that the volume of data transmitted will multiply by eight
What is the role of the telecoms operator in this digital revolution?
J.B: The quality of the internet experience depends to a large extent on the capacity of operators’ networks to transmit data. It takes a scalable and powerful infrastructure to enable ever increasing connectivity for screens, videos and information sharing. Operators anticipate increasing usage, invest in networks and guarantee a high-performing, secure and reliable connection.
What challenges does Orange address?
J.B: Orange chooses to invest heavily in international backbones, national fixed and mobile broadband networks and the local loop, for example in France. We’re deploying internet access for more and more people, whether consumers or businesses.
Why? Because we know that a reliable connection to the digital world ensures progress for people and society. We firmly believe that enabling access to digital technology opens the door to the world and to essential services.
When it comes to international, Orange has become a major telecoms player, able to transmit massive flows of data between countries and continents. A significant amount of the global internet today passes through Orange networks!
You’ve mentioned massive data flows between countries and continents. How do you manage this data transport?
J.B: It’s not well known, but it’s mainly submarine cables that can absorb the explosion of global digital data. Their transmission capacity is far superior to that of satellites. Today, 99% of our intercontinental communications pass through 1.3 million kilometres of cables deployed under our seas and oceans.
On the Orange side, the Group relies on a submarine cable network stretching more than 450,000 km around the world.
Our subsidiary Orange Marine is a global leader in the installation and maintenance of these fibre optic highways. Six cable ships lay, maintain, secure and repair undersea cables.
Can you highlight some of Orange Group’s activities in the submarine cable market?
J.B: Yes I can give two examples. Firstly there’s Kanawa, which became operational in January and which links French Guiana to Martinique. It was designed to improve French Guiana’s digital inclusion and also secure the growing data traffic from French Guiana and the West Indies with the United States.
The second example also deserves to be highlighted because it illustrates how submarine cables are responding to the acceleration of the data traffic generated by the web giants. Orange and Google have joined forces to launch the Dunant project, which is a new 6,600 km cable between the United States and France and which is expected to be in operation by the end of 2020. This new connection is crucial: more than 70% of the world’s content passes through the United States!
I want to add a few words about how the Orange Group is encouraging submarine cable landing points across its operating countries, including France. The Dunant project is a strong testament to this.
Orange is clearly positioned as a global leader and trusted operator when it comes to meeting people’s expectations. And this is thanks to its knowledge and expertise built up over many decades.
Orange Wholesale & International Networks (WIN) :
WIN is a new Orange Group division, bringing together all wholesale activities, sales and procurement of telecoms products, services and offers for third-party operators and content providers in France and around the world.
WIN also builds network infrastructure for the Orange Group and develops new services internationally.