France-IX Paris (created in 2010, total of 330 AS) is more established than France-IX Marseille (created in 2013, total of 33 AS), there is no doubt about that. We even believe that in the long term, France-IX Marseille will always count less members than France-IX Paris but will exceed Paris in term of traffic.
The difference lies in the geographic location and the addressable market of each community. Peering in Paris has been historical and attracts a wide variety of members from all market verticals, network size and geography. Matching its trade seaport activities, Marseille however has been a pass-through for many backbones thanks to the numerous submarine cables (half of the landing stations in France serves North America and northern Europe and the other half are in the south of France serving the African, Middle East and Asian markets).
As a consequence, members in Marseille tend to be international carriers and worldwide content providers ordering 10G peering ports from the beginning, if not 100G ports. They have either established their network presence historically thanks to SMW-4, TE North/TGN Eurasia/Seacom, Med Cable, Hawk, EIG or IMEWE, or they have received new capacity recently with the official launch of SMW-5 or they will next March with AAE-1. Others have deployed their network node in Marseille as part of their MEA strategy. It gets interesting when some of the members have equipment only in Marseille with no deployment plan in Paris. Therefore, it means those networks can be reached only in Marseille, not in Paris and this clearly shows how unique Marseille is becoming.
Let’s focus now on Africa, the fastest growing region for Internet bandwidth growth: +135% in 2015, 50% CAGR 2011-2015 (source Telegeography). The continent is mostly connected to Europe: Telegeography estimates 39% of the international internet bandwidth connected to Africa goes to France and 33% to the UK. But still, Central, West and North Africa are lagging behind IXP deployment and Marseille with its unique geographic position can offer this peering community in a neutral environment and can reduce latency interconnecting French carriers (like Orange, SFR, Bouygues Telecom), African networks and CDNs. The same goes for the Middle East: a CDN told us that although they already peer with a certain Middle East carrier in London, Amsterdam and Frankfurt, by peering with them in Marseille not only gives them additional redundancy but most importantly gives them a 20ms saving in RTD. For CDNs, hosters, gamers and networks looking to enhance their user experience, this is priceless.
Of course the French market comes into play. French carriers, content providers, hosters, CDNs and public cloud providers are already connected to France-IX Marseille. This adds an incredible value to all South-based networks, like regional/local carriers and ISPs, growing cloud providers and their users and in general, all the high tech sector in that dynamic territory. The local French Tech gathers 150 Tech champions (annual turnover of more than EU 5 million) and an extremely developed digital economy with more than 40,000 employees on the Aix-Marseille territory (source AMFT).
France-IX is not the only one to see these growing opportunities. Here are some market announcements for the past year:
- euNetworks expanded in Marseille in February 2016 www.eunetworks.com
- After acquiring SFR Netcenter in 2014 for EU 45m, Interxion has announced a EU 10m expansion in March 2016, then the launch of two new Marseille data centers investing EU 180m in September www.interxion.com, www.capacitymedia.com
- BICS has partnered with France-IX to offer remote peering in Marseille to their MEA accounts in August 2016 www.capacitymedia.com
- Zayo upgraded its Paris-Marseille backbone at 100G last fall www.zayo.com
- Telia has launched its 2nd PoP in Marseille in September 2016 www.capacitymedia.com
- Orange offers 4 different routes from Marseille on its international backbone (SMW4, IMEWE, SMW5, Hawk) www.orange.com
In other words, looking at the peering benefits in Marseille versus Paris is like comparing the peering value of New York versus Miami. The key questions become: who are my target peers and where are they located in France? How do France-IX Paris and France-IX Marseille peering hubs fit in my peering strategy?
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