Thursday, July 13, 2023

Panama Digital Gateway opens as a carrier-neutral hub for the Americas

Sparkle, in collaboration with Trans Ocean Network, inaugurated the Panama Digital Gateway (PDG), a next generation, carrier-neutral, open landing station, data center and connectivity hub.

Panama Digital Gateway is the landing point of Curie, the cable system connecting California to Chile with a branching unit into Panama developed by Google and Sparkle, and of new upcoming submarine cables looking for a diversified entry way to Central America.

The new building, which is located in Corazal (Panama City), offers 5,500 square meters of space for up to 650 equivalent racks and 3.5 MW of scalable power.

The gateway is integrated with Sparkle’s global backbone - more than 600,000 km of fiber spanning from Europe to Africa, the Americas and Asia.

Trans Ocean Network is a Panamanian telecommunications operator that owns, operates and maintains a terrestrial network of fiber optic cables in Panama, including rights of way, ducts, beach manholes, bore pipes, and cable landing stations.

The opening ceremony was attended by Laurentino Cortizo Cohen, President of Panama, and attended by Fabrizio Nicoletti, Ambassador of the Italian Republic in Panama, David Gonzalez Solis, CEO and founder of TON, and Enrico Maria Bagnasco, CEO of Sparkle.

Fabrizio Nicoletti, Ambassador of the Republic of Italy in Panama, said: “Panama and Italy have a historic relationship working closely in collaboration and coordination programs of different disciplines, fostering international cooperation between the two countries. We are very proud to have a first level Italian enterprise as Sparkle making possible this data center, a tangible demonstration of Italy's growing interest in Panama and in the Region”.

“Panama Digital Gateway consolidates and positions Panama as the digital hub of the region, strengthening the connectivity of our Country, and becoming a strategic interconnection offer for OTTs, carriers and enterprises”, stated David Gonzalez Solis, CEO of Trans Ocean Network. “We are very pleased to be participating in the construction and operation of this open hub in conjunction with a partner of experience and global scale such as Sparkle.” 

“The development of infrastructures in the Americas represents a pillar of Sparkle's plan to consolidate its positioning in the telecommunications wholesale market while reinforcing its offering of digital solutions”, explained Enrico Maria Bagnasco, CEO of Sparkle. “Panama is a natural crossroad of Central America and a bridge between the Atlantic and the Pacific as well as a strategic cross-point between North and South America, and our Panama Digital Gateway aims to be the reference landing hub of new submarine cables and the centre of choice to develop an ecosystem of interconnected players.”

Microsoft expands SSE platform aiming to replace legacy VPNs

Microsoft expanded its Security Service Edge (SSE) platform with the introduction of two new services:

  • Microsoft Entra Internet Access — an identity-centric Secure Web Gateway that protects access to internet, software as a service (SaaS), and Microsoft 365 apps and resources. It extends Conditional Access policies with network conditions to protect against malicious internet traffic and other threats from the open internet. 
  • Microsoft Entra Private Access — an identity-centric Zero Trust Network Access that secures access to private apps and resources. The service promises to enable users “to quickly and easily connect to private apps—across hybrid and multicloud environments, private networks, and data centers—from any device and any network.” The service, which is now in preview, aims to replace legacy VPNs.  Users can apply Conditional Access to individual applications, and enforce multifactor authentication, device compliance, and other controls to any legacy application without changing those applications.

Microsoft Entra suite, which was introduced in May 2022, initially included three products: Microsoft Azure Active Directory (Azure AD), Microsoft Entra Permissions Management, and Microsoft Entra Verified ID. The suite was later expanded with Microsoft Entra ID Governance and Microsoft Entra Workload ID. To simplify its marketing, the company is now changing the name of Azure AD to Microsoft Intra ID.

UPN expands fiber infrastructure in Arizona

Unite Private Networks (UPN) announced a network expansion into Yuma, Arizona, adding 70 miles of new, high-count fiber-optic infrastructure.

The company estimates over 2,450 serviceable buildings in Yuma, which is located on the border with California, overlooking the Colorado river, and which has a population of about 97,000.

UPN will also establish a network hub in Yuma and deploy diverse connectivity to UPN's network in Denver for enhanced network resiliency. Carrier customers in the area will now have access to Optical Ethernet and Internet Access powered by a low-latency, carrier-grade, 100 percent fiber-optic network.

Jeremy Andrews, Group Vice President of Strategic Networks, states: “We are delighted to introduce our high-capacity fiber-optic network to Yuma. Our goal is to provide local carriers with reliable and efficient high-speed fiber services, and we look forward to partnering with the community to ensure their connectivity needs are met with utmost satisfaction."

TELUS trims outlook citing reduced service demand and global pressure

Citing unexpected reductions in service demand, TELUS International released a preliminary summary of financial results for the quarter ended June 30, 2023, and revised downward its full-year 2023 outlook.

TELUS now expects revenue in the range of $660 to $668 million, reflecting year-over-year growth of 6% to 7% on a reported basis and 6% to 7% on a constant currency basis, and a decline of approximately 1% when excluding revenue earned from WillowTree. These year-over-year revenue growth rates are lower due to lower than expected business volumes primarily within its technology vertical. Net loss is now expected to be in the range of $7 to 10 million, reflecting a year-over-year decline of 113% to 118%, and net loss margin in the range of 1.0% to 1.5%. 

During the second quarter, as a result of persistent global macroeconomic pressures, TELUS International experienced more pronounced and unexpected reductions in service demand from some of our larger clients, particularly within the technology vertical. We also experienced delays and lower than expected activity in converting opportunities into spend commitments, as clients continue to address their own cost structures, including successive employee downsizing. These issues have in turn impacted TELUS International’s overall revenue and profitability to a larger extent than previously anticipated, contributing to a more cautious outlook for the balance of 2023,” said Jeff Puritt, President and CEO of TELUS International.

Vanessa Kanu, CFO said, “The magnitude of the headwinds we’re experiencing and our preview of second quarter performance data prompted a revision to the full-year outlook for 2023 to better reflect our updated expectations for the remainder of the year. We’ve actioned significant cost efficiency programs, including staff reductions to address lower service volumes in the technology vertical. Additionally, we are driving further automation and generative AI enabled solutions to further optimize our cost structure."

Dell’Oro: Mobile core network market growth slows

Dell’Oro Group trimmed its forecast for the mobile core network (MCN) market, citing slower subscriber growth. Worldwide MCN 5-year growth is now forecasted at a 1 percent compounded annual growth rate (CAGR), compared to our January 2023 forecast of 2 percent CAGR.

“We have reduced our forecast for the third consecutive time, primarily caused, this time, by an expected slowdown in subscriber growth,” said Dave Bolan, Research Director at Dell’Oro Group. “Also, we reduced our projections for the Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC) market to a 31 percent CAGR as commercially viable enterprise applications are taking much longer to realize than earlier hoped.

“Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) are concerned about inflation, a possible recession, and political conflicts. They are therefore being restrained in their capital expenditures, another factor weighing in on a more conservative forecast. As we continue refining our count of MNOs that have launched 5G Standalone (5G SA) eMMB networks, we note that only 4 MNOs have commercially deployed new 5G SA networks compared to six in the first half of 2022,” Bolan added.

Additional highlights from the Mobile Core Network & Multi-Access Edge Computing 5-Year July 2023 Forecast Report:

* Year-over-year MCN revenue growth rates are projected to be flat in 2026 and turn negative in 2027.

* The North America and China regions are expected to have negative CAGRs, while Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), and Asia Pacific excluding China regions are expected to have the highest positive CAGRs.

Render and VEA Connect deliver visibility and automation for FTTX

VEA Connect selected Render’s network construction technology for OpenFiber FTTX project in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. 

The fiber network will be built and managed for VEA’s customer OpenFiber and will serve the suburbs of Charlotte–N.C.’s largest city. 

Render’s solution will enable VEA to drive efficiency across the planned 321,000-premise network build and connect locations faster with end-to-end automation from construction to operations.

VEA Connect is a subsidiary of the VEA Group, a global investment company with a diversified portfolio of independently-managed telecommunications businesses and operations across South Africa, the UK, and the U.S. 

“We’re growing quickly. In our first six months of operations in the U.S., we passed 22,000 homes with fiber. We plan to increase another 443,000 homes passed over the next three years, and Render will allow us to accomplish–even exceed–that goal,” said Louis Bester, CTO at VEA. “Render can streamline our tools and processes with automated work scope creation, real-time performance insights across the portfolio, and change management functionality. We now have unmatched visibility, improved productivity, and aligned stakeholders.” 

Former president of AT&T Networks Eng and Ops joins Fortress’ board

Fortress Solutions, a provider of critical infrastructure management and support services, announced the appointment Scott Mair to its Board of Directors.

Recently retiring after a 37-year career at telecom giant AT&T, most notably as the President of AT&T Networks Engineering and Operations, Mr. Mair was responsible for launching the first standards-based mobile 5G network, running AT&T’s next-generation wireless and wireless networks, as well as launching the first secure communications platform used nationwide for U.S. Public Safety workers, including EMS, police, firefighters and first responders. Mr. Mair is an established figure in this field and an extremely well-respected industry professional. 

Casa appoints Michael Glickman as CEO

Casa Systems named Michael Glickman as its new President and Chief Executive Officer, succeeding interim CEO and current CFO Ed Durkin, and former CEO and company founder Jerry Guo, who retired earlier this year.

Glickman most recently served as the President of PacketFabric, where he scaled Operations and drove double digit growth through innovative joint ventures. Prior to that, Glickman held senior executive positions at Cisco, including Senior Vice President for the Global Service Provider unit, where he led sustainable growth in a multi-billion-dollar business. Glickman’s tenure at Cisco also included leadership roles in its Cloud & Managed Services and Channels businesses worldwide. He has also held executive positions at Fujitsu Americas and Amdahl Corporation. 

"Casa Systems has a very strong heritage and cutting-edge technologies. I look forward to building upon what Jerry Guo, visionary founder and former CEO and this talented team have created over the past twenty years, and I am committed to our collective vision of re-establishing Casa Systems as an industry disruptor for the benefit of our global customers. I am excited and committed to moving the Company forward with the speed required to capitalize on the significant opportunities in front of us. We will work together to deliver our innovative solutions to the market, address the evolving needs of our global customers, and achieve sustainable growth and profitability.”