Colt Technology Services, a global data center and enterprise network services provider headquartered in the U.K., has launched its U.S. operations with a focus on on-demand solutions that aim to deliver a new model for intercontinental data services.
Work on the launch began a little over a year ago, and is part of an overall €500 million network buildout plan announced back in 2016 that refocused the company’s strategy around high bandwidth connectivity solutions.
As part of the U.S. launch, Colt has connected 13 major cities in North America, including New York, San Francisco and Chicago, to its metro networks in Europe and Asia, which consist of more than 870 data centers and 26,000 on net buildings across 29 countries.
In an interview with CED, Colt CEO Carl Grivner said that with the deployment of a global network based on the “latest and greatest” technology, the company has created what he likes to call “the shiniest new car in the market.”
Grivner joined Colt in 2015, after heading up Singapore-based Pacnet, which was sold to Telstra. Before that, Grivner was chief executive for eight years of what is now Verizon’s XO Communications.
Colt, which has revamped its infrastructure and systems on the Colt IQ network over the last three years in a shift toward cloud networking, now has its software-driven technology going into the 30 top data centers in the U.S., and underneath that has purchased fiber capacity from several different providers, according to Grivner.
The company’s focus is on multinational enterprise customers who have global needs, Grivner said. So while if a customer is interested in buying a link between San Francisco to New York, that’s doable, but Colt’s best solution is for a customer wanting to go, for example, from San Francisco to New York to London, or to Tokyo or Singapore.
It’s this international footprint that Grivner believes is one factor that differentiates Colt, giving the company an advantage over incumbent providers like AT&T or CenturyLink who don’t typically have their own network in Europe or Asia.
“A customer that wants to go from New York to London, when they land in London they’re going onto the Colt network, or if they’re going to Tokyo they’re going to a Colt network. So from their perspective it’s the same technology, the same experience on a global basis,” Grivner said, adding that Colt is in 51 metro markets globally.
In the U.S., Colt offers enterprise bandwidth services up to 100 Gbps, delivered over entire wavelengths and Ethernet, with private network options, and optical services up to 9.6 Tbps capacity per site, along with a variety of wholesale services.
Colt said its software-driven network puts customers in control of their technology infrastructure across continents, with on-demand services that are provisioned in minutes directly from a customer portal.
“Colt has been disrupting the market for more than 25 years, from our beginning as the only challenger to the local incumbents in the City of London to today, where we are a global network challenger that thinks and acts differently in a rapidly consolidating U.S. market,” Grivner said in a statement.
“We know from our experience that business agility and the need for real-time response to customers is vital for large enterprises and financial firms, Colt is able to deliver on both counts. We’re privately held, affiliated with Fidelity Investments, and have the freedom to act extremely rapidly in a market characterized by unique, on-demand requirements,” he added.
Colt has been developing SDN/NFV capabilities for a number of years, and it’s this technology that helps the company provide more agile solutions.
Grivner said Colt sees the data center connectivity world as the primary use for SDN or NFV, as customers move from proprietary in-house data centers to a more cloud-like network.
Colt is connected to all of the largest data centers around the world, so “when a customer is doing something in New Jersey, but then needs to shift that to a data center in London, they can shift the application and they can also dial up or dial down their bandwidth requirements as well, and repoint the network,” Grivner explained.
Expansions in Colt’s data center footprint is where we can expect to see the most growth in the company’s U.S. operations over the next year, according to Grivner. He said Colt fully expects customers to drive the company into more data centers in the country, noting that while the current 30 is a baseline, the exact number for expansion will of be based on customer and market demand.
Grivner stressed that the move into the U.S., which was undertaken due to a combination of identifying key markets and desire from customers, along with opportunity from a sales and marketing perspective, is a “critical element” in terms of Colt’s overall global footprint.
He indicated the company is not finished widening its reach, saying Colt plans to announce further network expansions, on a global basis, during the fall of this year.