Due to the lack of plans and projects to install new sea cables, the position of the Netherlands as a data hub is under pressure. Several trade associations and companies active in the digital sector write this in a letter to State Secretary Keijzer today. They ask the government to take swift action to land new sea cables in the Netherlands. According to these organisations, both the business climate and the sovereignty of our digital infrastructure are at stake.
If there is one thing that the current circumstances demonstrate, it is that the importance of digitisation for the economy is crucial. The massive forced switch to working from home shows that the Netherlands can be proud of its excellent digital infrastructure and reputation as a global data hub. However, there is cause for concern: this position is under great pressure. Therefore, coordinated action is necessary.
The Netherlands possibly on the sidelines of the global digital economy
Economic clusters mainly arise along trade routes. This is no different with digital data connections by sea and land, according to the letter writers. They see that the absence of new connections threatens to put the Netherlands on the sidelines of the global digital economy. "The fact that the Netherlands can now offer these direct connections is an important argument for digital and tech companies to settle here," say initiators Stijn Grove (Dutch Data Center Association) and Michiel Steltman (Digital Infrastructure Netherlands). "They risk leaving if the main route moves."
And competition is fierce: governments in other European countries are currently committed to bringing new cables to their country, thereby also gaining a position as a data hub. As a result, the Netherlands is losing its position as an attractive country of residence. In addition, the loss of direct intercontinental connectivity by sea also poses risks to the sovereignty of digital infrastructure. Reduced control of international connections due to dependence on other countries and large tech companies is an undesirable scenario.
Broad coalition of signatories
The letter was signed by 43 organisations, including telecom companies, data centers, large telecommunications users, regional development companies and hosting and network parties. The Hague Security Delta is among these organisations. All see the great importance for the Netherlands but indicate that the playing field has become too comprehensive and capital-intensive for them to be able to act alone. The letter writers therefore call on the government to direct this file. And to develop a proactive policy together with the sector with which we can maintain and improve the good business climate in the Netherlands and work together on a strong digital economy.