If you want to know where the economy is growing fastest, follow the data. Capacity for transferring data across transatlantic cables, for example, grew to 12.8 terabits per second last year, up 1,300 percent. There is now enough bandwidth to send 3,840 hours of high-quality video across the Atlantic every second. But data crossing the Pacific Ocean have grown at twice that speed — and are now 30 times higher than in 2006.
This year, that data stream will exceed transatlantic capacity, says Paul Koss, SVP of business solutions at TeleGeography, a Washington, D.C.-based telecommunications market research firm.
Ashburn, Virginia, has emerged as the East Coast’s internet hub, the place where data are centralized before being sent to Europe. That function is more decentralized on the West Coast, with smaller co-location centers aggregating and exchanging data at places like One Wilshire in Los Angeles and the Westin Exchange Building in downtown Seattle.
Now, a Bellevue subsidiary of the family-owned Benaroya Company has built what it says will be the nation’s first transpacific broadband data and fiber hub. It renovated a 56,000-square-foot former semiconductor factory and created a modern facility for computer servers with the latest in security and cooling systems. With 50 megawatts of power, the internet hub is “one of the largest and most powerful in the country,” says Jim Vane, Centeris’ data center manager.
Situated in Puyallup on 85 acres surrounded by security fences, the hub has plenty of room to grow. Seattle-based Wave, a leading West Coast broadband provider, has partnered with Centeris and provided fiber links to underwater cables from Asia as well as to more than 80 data centers in the region.
“We believe the Seattle area is an ideal location to provide the combination of data-center assets, reliable and green power, and fiber needed for the transpacific hub,” says Simon Lee, a Centeris board director.
While the most significant transpacific hubs are more likely to emerge in major population centers like San Francisco or Los Angeles, Koss sees many opportunities to tap growth in data traffic driven by Seattle cloud companies such as Amazon and Microsoft, as well as traffic from large corporations like Boeing that send huge amounts of data between designers here and manufacturers in Asia.