Jonathan Wright, Interoute: Expansion and the cloud

Jonathan Wright, Interoute: Expansion and the cloud

Interoute has struck out into new markets in the last couple of years, both geographically and on a product level. Jonathan Wright, VP, service provider at the company, talks to Capacity.


Jonathan Wright, VP, service provider at Interoute, appears perfectly poised to help handle the company’s recent expansion into new markets and products.

He describes himself as thriving in fast-paced start-ups with cutting edge commercial thinking, a factor he believes has been key in his time at Interoute.

Wright has an array of experience in sales, commercial and product management. He joined Interoute in 2001, when the company’s network business was a start-up and the overall company was on the verge of renewal. Interoute restructured the following year and has risen to become a formidable player in today’s international wholesale market.

An initial role as Interoute’s first product manager gave Wright the chance to help set everything up from the start and create new products from scratch. “It’s quite an empowering place to work,” he says.

“I’ve always been a doer and quite practical and I take satisfaction from this. You don’t get this chance so much in a considerably bigger company.”

Wright says his desire to see the instant fruits of his labour is mirrored in his creative personal interests, such as his passion for art, woodwork and cookery: “You can see what you’re doing immediately and get an immediate payback from art.”

Wright’s attributes are likely to prove invaluable as Interoute beds down in new territories. The company expanded its pan-European fibre-optic network to Istanbul, Turkey, in early 2010 and has been growing its presence in Russia, as well as launching a new PoP in Hong Kong earlier this year.

Turkish delight

Wright contends that there is huge potential in the transit market in Turkey, offering increasing international connectivity at an “east meets west” geographical point and relative political stability.

Interoute had discussed the alternative possibility of running submarine cables via Egypt, but Wright cites potential political and competitive challenges at the time and the fact that “every time you break a submarine cable it takes four to five days to get a ship to the site.”

He adds that “terrestrial networks will break more, but they are quicker and easier to fix, have oodles more capacity and can be upgraded time and time again. In the long-term, Turkey is a better bet.” He also points to the gateway that the country provides to markets like Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq, while conceding that there are still significant challenges in the Middle East.

Wright views the deal Interoute struck earlier this year with Turkish operator Turkcell Superonline for network diversity as an important new piece of the jigsaw: “This is a badge that gives us more credibility and provides mutual benefit. It creates a foothold in the early days.”

Looking to the clouds

Wright argues that it is essential to keep growing in terms of geography and new technology and services: “If you start to stagnate in wholesale telecoms, the business won’t last. You need to innovate, push into new geographical regions and technologies to keep revenues growing.”

Cloud services tie in with Interoute’s expansion strategy on the product side, with the company building out its European data centre infrastructure to meet growing demand. Interoute also bolstered its services through last year’s purchase of UK cloud services provider Quantix.

A surge in demand for Interoute’s enterprise cloud-based Unified Computing offering helped fuel a 15% top-line revenue and 23% EBITDA rise year-on-year in the first three quarters of 2012. “If cloud services are to be as big as everyone says, there is a lot of sense in them,” says Wright.

“I think we’re at an interesting stage of adoption. It’s growing all the time, but mass market adoption is waiting to happen and there’s a long way to go.”

He points to long-haul Ethernet services as a parallel: “We were there two to three years before Ethernet really started and now it’s the standard connectivity. It takes such a time to educate the market and get them off the capex cycles they’re on.”

But Wright is confident of a continued thrust towards cloud services: “Ultimately, the cloud is part of the future landscape. Within five years, it will be the de facto standard.”

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