Putting customer choice first: open access

How can data centre operators manage increasing network capacity requirements and differentiate against competitors?

As data volumes show no sign of letting up, demand for new, high quality data centres and resilient fibre infrastructure is increasing. How can data centre operators manage increasing network capacity requirements and differentiate against competitors?

Open access networks can enhance a data centre operator's proposition by offering its customers a real choice in telecoms service providers. It requires network providers like Geo to lease valuable fibre assets to other carriers and service providers, adding a genuine competitive advantage both in cost and service availability.

This represents a move away from the normal telecoms market approach. Many carriers, in particular incumbents, have been extremely reluctant to lease fibre in the past as it was considered the operators' 'crown jewels'. Traditionally, providers would bundle the physical access with the delivery of services meaning that data centre owners are locked in with a single provider.

Data centre owners are embracing the open access model and the benefits it provides. In opting for a first-in fibre provider, data centre owners do not have to worry about making multiple investments in network infrastructure to offer diversity. The outlay in fibre and ducting is only made once. Customers can then select the telecoms operator of their choice. The other significant benefit of open access is the ability to scale up capacity on the fibre asset, with minimal cost, as customer demand requires.

Open access relies heavily on the provider having confidence in its own model and being happy to sell to a competitor, servicing end users via its back haul infrastructure. This type of approach requires a long term view from the provider’s perspective and it triumphs in giving control to data centre owners as well as offering choice to end users.

Data centre developers and operators often see the virtue of bringing open access providers into their facilities on high fibre count. As well as providing unlimited upgrade potential and the opportunity to resell capacity to a wider customer base, it ensures high quality infrastructure which facilitates their business strategies, meeting data demands now and in the future. If approached correctly, the open access model offers benefits for all: the data centre operator, network provider and, of course, the end user.