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Selecting the right colocation provider for POP in a new market

Faced with a growing North American customer base, one European carrier ventured outside its home market for a U.S.-based colocation provider that would meet demand for local, affordable and flexible connectivity options.

With its roster of North American customers growing, a Dutch carrier established a New York point of presence (POP) with a colocation provider in order to answer demand for local, affordable and flexible connectivity options.

Carrier 2 Carrier B.V. (C2C), which specializes in satellite connectivity, historically derived nearly all of its revenue from customers throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa -- serving maritime and energy markets in addition to traditional enterprises and governments.

But the carrier has experienced increasing demand from North American-based customers seeking satellite connectivity to remote locations for voice and data connectivity, said Kees Jan Mink, general manager and CTO of C2C. In order to deliver competitively priced services to these new customers, C2C established a POP in New York City with Telx, an interconnection and colocation provider.

North American POP simplifies customer network provisioning

In the past, C2C required its North American customers to provision and pay for their own international circuit across the Atlantic Ocean and into its POP.

We don't want to force our customers to work with a specific local carrier. We like to give them a choice.

Kees Jan Mink
General Manager and CTOCarrier 2 Carrier B.V.

"In the old days, we would just ask [customers] to come to us and connect their own infrastructure all the way across the Atlantic and into Amsterdam, and then we'd take their traffic into our point of presence," Mink said. "That would mean [provisioning] an international circuit and high pricing compared to local connectivity."

Even if North American customers could stomach the expense of contracting with another carrier to provision a direct connection from the United States into C2C's Amsterdam POP, that connectivity could take weeks or even months to complete.

For example, C2C needed the ability to offer an oil company more than satellite Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) and Internet connectivity at an exploration site in Ghana, Mink said. C2C needed to ensure a more cost-effective connection back to the oil company's Houston headquarters.

"Over the last year, more and more of our customers and customer demand comes from North America," he said. "We [wanted to] save them a lot of cost and hassle by coming to them."

Choosing the right colocation provider to meet local POP requirements

C2C had conventional infrastructure- and service-related requirements when evaluating colocation providers in the United States -- reliability, power, rack server space. But establishing a POP in a new market expressly to improve cost and convenience for customers required more than uptime assurances, Mink said.

The colocation provider for the North American POP had to be carrier-neutral, he said, enabling C2C's customers to choose whatever local exchange carrier (LEC) would be best for them. The LEC would carry the traffic to the colocation provider and hand it off to C2C, which would then backhaul it over its infrastructure to Amsterdam.

Many colocation providers in New York, New Jersey and the South that Mink evaluated would have forced C2C customers to use service providers that the carrier hotel had exclusive agreements with, he said.

"That's something we don't want. We don't want to force our customers to work with a specific local carrier," he said. "We like to give them a choice."

C2C established its first North American POP with Telx. The Dutch carrier set up the POP in a Manhattan-based carrier hotel that houses connections for 400 service provider and enterprise networks. Telx's carrier-neutral approach, vast array of tenants and strategic location made it an attractive colocation provider, Mink said.

"When you visit Telx for the first time and see what it's all about, it's more than just a list of [service provider] names on a piece of paper," he said. "You see all these cables basically landing in New York at this specific point. It's really impressive that a lot of the international fiber connections go through or near that place, and that's quite important for us."

North American customers will still pay for an international connection to Amsterdam, but C2C's ability to aggregate those links into its existing transatlantic backbone will translate into big savings for them, Mink said. Connections will also be "almost immediately available" with little procurement and management responsibilities for customers, he added.

One of C2C's maritime partners, Inmarsat, one of the largest global satellite network providers, also colocates at the same location. The proximity further eases management and service provisioning, Mink said.

"We're seeing already a great response to it," he said. "We have some existing U.S. customers who are [connecting] in New York and not going direct to Amsterdam anymore. We see the traffic is growing, which is good."

Let us know what you think about the story; email: Jessica Scarpati, News Writer

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