The Big Interview

Q&A with Anthony Voscarides, chief executive officer of Djibouti Data Center

Jason Mcgee-Abe

06 Dec 2016

What have been the main highlights for Djibouti Data Center in 2016?

The internet exchange (IX) is shaping up well and is a key highlight. Many customers are connecting with us, supporting our vision of a dynamic East African ecosystem. This coupled with all the traffic being exchanged is helping to fill a big connectivity hole in that part of East Africa.

New cables being deployed and having a positive effect on a number of fronts. As carriers seek to exploit these systems, data centre connectivity becomes more critical. This has brought a significant reduction in the pricing of cross-connects and backhaul circuits within Djibouti making it a much more competitive destination and transit point than many locations in the region. Even though there is always room for improvement, these changes are having a very positive effect on the growth of the internet in the region.

What are the main challenges you’re presently facing?

Our expansion plan is the main challenge. To be able to quickly reach the markets we want to and be able to satisfy the needs and expectations for our customers. The challenges in Africa are always linked with timing; each country has its own way of doing business and have their own particularities. We’re in the latter stages of developing our East African strategy and, starting from next year in late 2017, will start roll out Tier III+ data centres across key locations in East Africa.

What are the major trends in the African market this year?

There is definitely a vast take-up of broadband services in the region mainly due to mobile growth in the region. This is happening faster than anyone was expecting with 4G having been rolled out in countries like Ethiopia. This demand helps to drive and change regulation, forcing market change. With the new cable systems being deployed, there's further potential change afoot. IP services are evolving and imminent upgrades in capacity levels in some markets will grow from sub 1Gb to 4Tb over the next five years.

What’s the importance of attending an event like Capacity Asia and what do you hope to take away from the conference?

Asia has an increasingly significant role to play in Africa. We have a number of Chinese customers - including big blue chip companies such as PCCW Global, China Telecom Global and CDN player China Net Center – and it’s growing still. Capacity Asia connects us to Asian carriers and further helps us to further develop Djibouti on the data centre map.