Q&A: Gil Santaliz, founder and managing member, NJFX

Gil Santaliz, founder and managing member of New Jersey Fiber Exchange (NJFX), talks to Capacity about the company's successes in 2015 and it plans for development this year.

What have been the company’s three key highlights for 2015?

2015 was a year of substantial growth for the subsea cable industry, and therefore interconnection within the data centre. We saw a resurgence of investment in transatlantic subsea cable systems to Europe and South America, evidenced by the recent Seaborn Networks and Aqua Comms announcements highlighting route and cable diversity. Our timing is impeccable.

NJFX’s key 2015 highlights include:

1. Tata Communications investing in making its Wall, New Jersey, international Cable Landing Station (CLS) a full Point of Presence (PoP) with 100G IP, Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS), carrier-grade Ethernet, and global capacity

2. Windstream investing in 100G capacity on their unique routes between Ashburn and NJFX in Wall, New Jersey, bypassing legacy, congested routes in New York, Northern New Jersey, and more

3. Growing interest from metro providers seeking to partner with NJFX to build diverse on and off fiber ramps into the data center in 2016. 


What are your main goals for 2016?

The first half of 2016 will be focussed on interconnecting through NJFX’s Meet-Me Room (MMR) at the Tata Communications' CLS in Wall, NJ, to key US metro markets for customers that would like to avoid traditional routes for diversity. Midyear, NJFX will cater to our strategic “Tier 3 by the Subsea” customers with special requirements for secure and connectivity-rich deployments. To close out 2016, NJFX will open its doors to all customers that would like take advantage of the subsea cable system connections and MMR, which provide unique metro fiber options to places they want to go. 


How do you expect the US metro market to develop in 2016?

Metro markets will continue to get denser with the deployment of small cells, Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) and metro Wifi. Traditional carrier hotels are natural aggregation points for these metro networks. New routes interconnecting major metros will become front and center with high availability being paramount. Our industry will continue to evaluate bottlenecks and tout those with premium routes, including international access.  


What challenges do you expect from this market and how will you overcome them?

Post 2001, capital has always been a challenge in our industry. With the current "smart build" models, this challenge is further exacerbated.  Being nimble allows some to take advantage of new routes.  In my previous venture, 4Connections, I was the second carrier built into NASDAQ and reaped the rewards.  We need to take some risks if we want to be rewarded.


What do you hope to gain from Metro Connect 2016?

I remember going to the first Metro Connect in Miami about 15 years ago and seeing the Capacity team working hard to accommodate close to 80 delegates. Today, the show has become a "red carpet" event for our industry where over three days, you can catch up with great friends and network with 480+ major players from the US communications and fibre infrastructure markets. This time, it’s great to be back at the event with my former metro colleagues as an operator of a global platform.