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• US ban on Chinese telecom operators brings new challenges for businesses connecting between the United States and mainland China

• Epsilon enables on-demand, end-to-end connectivity across the US from the West Coast through Hong Kong into mainland China via its global private network

Last month, the United States Federal Communication Commission (FCC) voted on the revocation of China Telecom’s licence to operate. The move to revoke Chinese operators’ licences began as early as 2019 when the FCC denied China Mobile the license to provide services in the US.

While the recent banning of China Telecom further strains the relations between two of the world’s superpowers, it is also likely to bring about concerns amongst American and Chinese businesses requiring connectivity between these two countries.

By itself, the network in and out of China is already limited to a few routing paths, with the rest of the country’s link via Hong Kong (China Telecom) and Japan (China Unicom). With both operators banned, businesses using these operators for network links between the two countries will need to find alternatives to circumvent this problem.

An Already Complex Situation of Connecting in and out of China

Connecting to China is far from easy due to strictly enforced regulations on network traffic in and out of the country. This poses a significant operational challenge for businesses with operations both inside and outside of China—or those looking to build a presence across the country.

It is made even more complex for American businesses now that the two direct links to China via China Telecom and China Unicom are banned.

Larger multinational American businesses may have foreseen this and taken pre-emptive steps to ensure business continuity; the same may not be said for smaller organisations with limited resources. In this situation, Chinese businesses similarly will face the same problem in connecting to their US operations.

Both American and Chinese businesses with operations in both countries can choose to manage the connectivity by patching together various service providers. However, it is not only extremely resource-intensive but also costly and inefficient. This can lead to poor performance and bottlenecks with multiple points of failure.

To provision interconnect with data centres or access cloud services inside China, an organisation must:

  • Seek permission from the Chinese government and submit to numerous checks.
  • Arrange and manage partnerships with one or more connectivity providers both inside and outside the country.
  • Provide regular reports and reconcile connections and traffic sent each month.

Taking advantage of a great alternative

This type of situation is precarious and one that no business wants to be entangled in, yet they shouldn’t feel crippled without the presence of tier 1 carriers. For some, it may signal the beginning of a fundamental change in the traditional idea that tier 1 is always better.

With the growth of software-defined networking (SDN) and federated networks, American and Chinese businesses can find the next best alternative, or even greater, in connecting their infrastructure between the countries. Many carrier-neutral operators now provide highly scalable connectivity across the global, with a number of service providers offering secure network connections across US and mainland China.

Epsilon currently provides connectivity across the US from the West Coast through Hong Kong into Mainland China. This is made possible with an interconnected network between Epsilon and our local licenced connectivity partner. By utilising our private network, we enable end-to-end connectivity from selected US data centres via our partners directly to data centres and cloud services in 18 markets across mainland China and Hong Kong.

Our award-winning Infiny network as a service (NaaS) platform allows customers to self-provision and manage their services seamlessly across the network. Furthermore, Epsilon manages all carrier relationships so customers can have a peace of mind with guaranteed quality of experience and service through a single contract.

As a smaller operator, we go beyond what’s expected by delivering services up to tier 1 standards or even better. Our Infiny platform and global network fabric gives customer the power of choice for connecting to world leading data centres, cloud service providers and internet exchanges. This is demonstrated in our recent shortlist in the Global Carrier Awards 2021 under the Best Cloud Innovation category.

The Future of Global Telecoms

The shifting sands of geopolitics is bringing about uncertainty in the global telecoms supply chain. For the telecoms industry, constant innovation is more critical than ever to break down the barriers and help businesses bypass the geopolitical risks today. And this is a situation that businesses need to be mindful of when they choose their network service provider.

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