Interviewed by: 

Ilissa Miller, CEO iMiller Public Relations


Gina Haspilaire, Vice President, Managing Director at Pacnet  

Giles Proctor, Vice President, Data Centre Construction & Operations at Pacnet

Part 1 of 2:

Pacnet’s Executives Discuss the Company’s Asia-Pac Data Center and Network Services Strategy

We recently sat with two executives from Asia-Pacific’s leading data center and network services provider, Pacnet; Giles Proctor, Vice President, Data Centre Construction and Operations and Gina Haspillaire, Vice President, Managing Director at Pacnet North America
Bringing two different perspectives to Pacnet’s business, our conversation was quite informative. I hope you will agree.

Question (Ilissa Miller) – Pacnet has a deep history in the industry. Could you remind our readers about Pacnet’s roots and how it has evolved to today?

Answer (Gina Haspillaire) – Back in 2000, Global Crossing, now Level 3, set out to build a global subsea cable network. When it filed for bankruptcy in 2002, our company acquired the assets of its Asian arm, Asia Global Crossing, which owned and operated an intra-Asia subsea cable system called East Asia Crossing or EAC. The company was named Asia Netcom and was owned by a consortium led by China Netcom. In late 2003, China Netcom acquired 100 percent of Asia Netcom. In 2006, China Netcom sold Asia Netcom to Connect Holdings Limited, which owned another intra-Asia cable called C2C. In 2007 the new owner integrated the businesses of Asia Netcom and C2C to create a 46,420 km submarine cable network EAC-C2C. With its acquisition of Pacific Internet in 2008, Connect Holdings Limited was renamed Pacnet Limited.

Q: (IM) – Through this evolution, what has remained constant at Pacnet?

A: (Gina) – The vision and commitment to the region, and to a large extent, our employee base. Pacnet takes pride in providing regional expertise. Rather than bringing employees in from out of the region, we are committed to the region and the local markets within it. From a strategy and vision perspective, we are looked at as a carrier-neutral provider in the Asia-Pacific region, capable of providing solutions without a specific focus on individual countries. This focus and expertise provide our customers a lot of benefits because people look at Pacnet as experts for the entire region while also obtaining a consistent experience regardless of where they are doing business. Our customers know what to expect.

Q: (IM) – According to Internet World Stats, June 2011 information, Asia is the region with the largest digital population in the world. What is Pacnet doing in the region to support this burgeoning growth?

A: (Giles Proctor) – Pacnet has been busy investing in Data Center capabilities and capacity in the key locations where our submarine cables land. This strategy enables our customers to colocate equipment directly at the cable head, providing a much better experience for the end users. Our second data center in Hong Kong provides 3 MW of power with access to extensive network capacity because it is located directly in the building where the cable lands; this provides customers very fast connectivity throughout the Asia-Pacific region. Our Content Delivery Network enables faster delivery of digital content throughout the entire region with 10 Points of Presence (PoPs) that we own and control. Pacnet is dedicated to continuously building capacity and data centers to help customers meet the increasing computing, storage and connectivity required to compete in Asia’s digital economy.

Q: (IM) – China seems to be a target rich market for Pacnet – what is unique about Pacnet’s opportunity in China?

A: (Giles) – China is a very exciting market. Its scale is really quite marketable. Last year there were over 538 million internet users; it is expected to be over 700 million this year. Mobile penetration is also extensive. Pacnet has been in China for many years and we have built strong relationships with incumbent carriers, regulatory authorities, municipalities and regional governments. Our equity joint venture in China, Pacnet Business Solution, is the first Sino-Foreign telecommunications joint venture to have been awarded licenses to operate telecommunication services by China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT). We have been granted licenses to offer IP VPN service in 23 provinces, which covers the majority of China and Data Center licenses in five cities. Together, these provide Pacnet the ability to provide a comprehensive suite of services throughout the country. Couple that with our Network PoPs that reach 62 cities throughout the Asia-Pacific.

Gina: It’s also good to note that both of our cable systems land in China. C2C lands in Shanghai, and EAC lands in Qingdao.

Giles: Like Gina said, our capabilities and network all link to our submarine cable backbone, which is extensively interconnected throughout Asia. We have unmatched one stop shop capabilities to reach nearly half of the world’s internet users.

“We have unmatched one stop shop capabilities to reach nearly half of the world’s internet users.” Giles Proctor, Vice President, Data Centre Construction and Operations, Pacnet

Q: (IM) – How is Pacnet meeting the demands of a mobile world, where content is expected on demand from nearly any device?

A: (Gina) – From a mobile perspective, our business has two major segments: one focused on enterprise and one on the carriers. Where we add value from a mobile perspective is more from our carrier business and how our carrier team supports the needs of mobile operators as it relates to infrastructure. Eventually, to get to any device, you’re going to require transport of information on the physical layer, and that physical layer is where we bring and enable mobile providers to deliver content. In addition, on a content distribution level, our IP backbone within Asia also gives us the ability to enable mobile users to access content through their mobile providers. Though we are not a mobile operator, Pacnet is a key mobility enabler in the region.

Q: (IM) – What are other areas of interest for Pacnet and how does the company differentiate itself from others?

A: (Giles) – Our focus is on Asia. Pacnet’s unique set of assets enables us to provide a very of high-level support to customers and wide-ranging ability to provide services through extensive reach in Asia. Our core focus is enabling the Internet in Asia.

(Gina) – Three key differentiators that we provide include:

1) Infrastructure: We are well represented with an extensive set of assets in the region.

2) Our market access and ability to reach all of the developed and developing countries throughout Asia. When you look at the growth rate, there are eight countries in Asia growing at a faster pace than the rest of the world’s growth. Being able to tap into these markets and have access to them is a key differentiator.

3) Pacnet’s technical expertise and people.

These three things combined set our company apart from others in the region today. We can’t over emphasize that Pacnet pioneered data communications in the region. We have never been a voice provider. We have always been a data services provider dedicated to providing services in the region . The business did not start by having a local telco mindset with a customer base that required the opportunity to bring them global. Pacnet has always been a regional provider. As a result, we were very much open and neutral in terms of the local markets. That is important in Asia. This provides us the opportunity to deliver a certain level of diversity in markets that others may not be able to. Finally, our interest is really in managed services. As a company that understands the region and has all of the infrastructure to be successful from a communications infrastructure stand point allows us to be viewed as a true service provider. 

Our focus for the next year and beyond is the deployment of data centers and systems that support that and really provide a customer experience that is bar none and consistent across the region. At the end of the day. it boils down to the customer. So we want our service to be the obvious differentiator for someone looking to do business in the region.
The second part of this interview will be published next week. So stay tuned! For more information about Pacnet and the company’s data center solutions throughout the Asia Pacific region, visit