Choose your allies. Carefully.

Tuesday, July 4 2017


When you think of the guardians of the Internet, you probably don’t picture a ship’s captain or a squirrel catcher. But sea cables don’t lay themselves and somebody has to keep cable enemy #1 in check. Because connectivity is so central to our everyday lives, we simply expect it to always be there. But when you take a moment to remember that it is built on a physical network of high-capacity optical fiber crisscrossing the Earth and its ocean trenches; it’s easy to understand that no one can do it on their own.

At Telia Carrier, we pride ourselves on offering a one-hop-shop: connect to us and you connect to the world in a single network hop. But that doesn’t mean we’re doing it alone. Behind the scenes, we work with a select group of technology partners to push the boundaries of what’s possible at the same time as making sure your connectivity doesn’t go down.

When it comes to choosing our partners, we need to be incredibly careful. After all, it’s not just our reputation on the line, it’s our customers’ reputations as well. So for anything to do with the delivery and reliability of our network, we only work with tried and true partners. Yes, it’s kind of a boring approach, but the potential cost is not worth the risk. And when you consider the fact that we work with some 120 local tail providers and about 130 maintenance providers around the world, the complexity becomes clear. We sometimes do 700 planned works in a month, that’s a lot of partners we need to work closely with to make sure local connectivity is not affected. So you can understand why we put such a strong emphasis on choosing the right allies.

But that’s only part of the story. To carry the big ideas of tomorrow, we need to constantly evolve our backbone. That means being early adopters and introducing new technologies to stay one step ahead of our customers’ needs – and their end users’ demands. Take the Voyager box we recently tested with Facebook and Coriant. We successfully delivered both 100G and 200G over a 1,000km link on our backbone as part of the Telecom Infra Project (TIP). Neither us, Coriant, nor Facebook could have done this on our own, but with the right allies, anything is possible.

Our latest film in the Carrier Declaration series gives another example of this in a very different context. Dr Martin Wikelski is working with a network of scientists to study animal movements on a global scale. And what they are finding is that animals could be a very important – if somewhat unlikely – ally for humans. Can goats predict eruptions? Can bats locate the cause of Ebola? Scientists are starting to understand animals in a completely different way. Check out the film here if you haven’t seen it.

Just like Dr Wikelski, we are also studying data on a global scale (even if it is not as exciting as goats and bats). We are constantly collecting and analyzing data from our network to predict where the next fault could happen or when the next card could fail. Because to make sure our customers’ longest link is their strongest, we need to take proactive steps before these things actually happen. And we also need to be incredibly careful when it comes to choosing our partners. We only work with the best, and like to think it works the other way as well. We’re extremely proud of the partners that we call allies – and we hope they feel the same way about us.