Vinay Nagpal, Interglobix, Explains the Burgeoning Sub-Sea Eco-System Growing in Virginia Beach
by Josh Anderson
LEESBURG, VA – One of the buzziest panels at CapRE’s Sixth Annual Washington, D.C. & Mid-Atlantic Data Center Summit was an afternoon discussion titled Site Selection & Development Trends: Who is Breaking Ground in the Mid-Atlantic Region? After some remarks about utilities and power, Moderator Patrick A. Wilcox, Director for New York City at Colliers International decided to drive the conversation into the world of Connectivity.
“Let’s shift gears a little bit here to a connectivity question,” he suggested, motioning to Vinay Nagpal, President at InterGlobix LLC. “What uptick are you seeing, if any, with the new sub-sea cable landings?”
“I would say that in the last probably two years or so, there has been a lot of activity happening in the Hampton Roads region overall,” replied Nagpal. “From the connectivity standpoint, yes, there are several sub-sea projects announced. Two of them are active and alive as we speak. The fact that we have a slide – Brian put it up earlier – what you can see there is that we have what I call a sub-sea eco-system being developed in Virginia Beach.”
“So what you have is the two cables that are active and live now, the Marea and the BRUSA,” Nagpal explained, painting a picture of the situation on the ground. “The Marea cable is co-owned by Microsoft, Facebook and Telxius, which is Telefonica’s sub-sea arm, the Spanish telecommunications company. And then you have BRUSA, which is another dedicated system built and operated by Telxius, which is connecting Virginia Beach directly to Rio De Janeiro, branching off to Fortaleza, Brazil and Puerto Rico and up to Virginia Beach.”
“What that really means is that, I wish Buddy [Rizer] was here, because he absolutely loves stating this, and I state this with a lot of pride, but 72% of the world’s traffic is passing through Northern Virginia,” continued Nagpal. “There’s a huge concentration of data centers, and whether you’re a wholesale provider or a colocation player or a Cloud Services Provider, connectivity is key no matter what.”
According to Nagpal, when that localized traffic had to leave the eastern seaboard, up until recently it had to be routed through either New York or New Jersey, or travel down South to Florida. “So now, it’s for the first time ever that the sub-sea cables are directly connected to the State of Virginia,” he beamed.
“And in addition to the two projects that I’ve already talked about, there are two additional projects underway that are going to connect Virginia Beach directly to Cape Town, South Africa — SAEX – it’s going to have a branching unit to St. Helena, which is a British Island, and then a branching unit to Fortaleza, Brazil,” he listed. “And the fourth system recently announced is the Dunant cable, connecting Virginia Beach to the French Atlantic Coast, owned and operated by Google. So in essence it really brings Virginia Beach to the forefront of the connectivity world in terms of having direct connectivity to the rest of the global marketplace.”
Finally, he honed in on the crux of the question. “In terms of bringing activity to other markets, it’s important to understand that, just by having the sub-sea cables, Virginia Beach won’t automatically become the next Ashburn,” he cautioned. “That traffic being routed to Virginia Beach will ultimately end up somewhere. And that somewhere is either Northern Virginia or Henrico County, where there is a major development underway in White Oak Technology Park. Or for that matter Forest City in North Carolina or even in Southern Virginia. So really what the sub-sea cables are going to help propel growth statewide from a data center and connectivity perspective.”
For more from this panel, check out an earlier CapRE Insider Report: Leesburg Summit Highlights: Stan Blackwell Delivers the View from Dominion Virginia Power