As the world becomes increasingly reliant on high-speed data transmission across the U.S. and between continents, access to high-capacity terrestrial and subsea cable technology is critical. Without a clear path of access to this mission-critical infrastructure, organizations’ ability to do business digitally will significantly suffer. Yet, many companies are finding it challenging to choose the ideal location to host their data. Many primary data center markets are purposely saturated and thus can be expensive, challenge power requirements, cause network congestion, and leave decision-makers asking the question: “there must be a better way?” That’s where the edge comes in.

By building or leasing data centers in secondary markets outside of popular hosting regions, companies gain the ability to access critical network points, such as subsea cable systems, directly at their landing locations. Choosing to forego investments in traditional core markets in favor of secondary markets can bring significant advantages. These locations typically offer access to readily available power and alternative energy solutions, increased resiliency, and a high level of security. What makes these secondary “edge” markets unique is the ability to reduce network congestion and offer relief from costly power contracts typically found in major metro data center hubs while still providing critical access and proximity to major cloud providers that are more and more focused on improving performance for their services outside of major metro hubs.

In recent years, many notable digital infrastructure entities have expanded beyond core hub regions to secondary markets, decentralizing and localizing their data to provide a better user experience. This expanded market presence has resulted in faster response times, operational reliability, cost efficiency, enhanced security and compliance, and next-gen technology compatibility. Today, the Virginia Beach market and the greater Hampton Roads region have come to represent a notable Mid-Atlantic ‘edge’ hub for intercontinental subsea cables that are in search of a diverse East Coast landing point.

Why Virginia Beach?

Virginia Beach is a critical edge market strategically positioned to leverage multi-continent interconnection capabilities that drive growth throughout the digital infrastructure industry. As a location, it meets the increased demand for subsea and terrestrial fiber connectivity while offering an array of terrestrial interconnection options that take traffic north, west or south.

  • The region boasts proximity to Northern Virginia, the world’s largest internet ecosystem.
  • Currently offers access to three low-latency, high-capacity intercontinental subsea cables: MAREA, BRUSA and Dunant, which resiliently connect Europe and the Americas.
  • Subsea connectivity between Virginia Beach and cable landing stations in New Jersey and New York is underway.
  • Hyperscale players looking to connect to major data center hubs can take advantage of Virginia Beach’s diverse route, alongside easy access to dark fiber and high-capacity lit services to Ashburn, VA; Washington, D.C.; Henrico, VA; Boydton, VA; Columbus, OH; and the North Carolina corridors.
  • Decreases industry dependency on major metro areas.

Located south of Loudoun County, Virginia Beach is the closest cable landing zone to Northern Virginia, through which an estimated 70% of global internet traffic flows. This unique position provides the region with a redundant path, leveraging connectivity to surrounding locales via multiple terrestrial networks. Another key aspect of the Virginia Beach market is its direct access to Metro Fiber Networks™, a unique subsurface network with over 200 route miles. The network connects Corporate Landing Parkway in Virginia Beach to White Oak Industrial Park in Henrico County, with subsea portions crossing the York River and Hampton Roads Harbor.

Looking Ahead

The Atlantic subsea cable region saw an estimated growth of $27 billion in 2022 and is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.9% from 2023 to 2030. With many aging, low-capacity cable systems nearing the end of their useful lives and approaching retirement, stakeholders are forced to find new ways to keep up with the inevitable demand for reliable high-capacity connectivity. It’s reasonable to expect several new Trans-Atlantic cables to land on the East Coast in the next decade, and Virginia Beach is slated to play host.

Looking forward to what’s to come for this market, the future feasibility of Virginia Beach is undeniable. Virginia Beach will almost certainly see fast-growing data center demand, driven primarily by cable operators and new cable landings, with the region capable of eventually landing several more subsea cables in the coming years.