Q&A with Pablo Echevarria, Sales Director, Axent
Capacity speaks to Pablo Echevarria, Sales Director of Axent.
Q. Axent being a newcomer into the fibre industry, what are the outcomes of these first 2 years in the market?
It is 2 years since Axent as a new brand are commercialising their transport solutions based on optical fibre and radio technology, true. However, I wouldn’t say we are much of a newcomer as such. Both Enagas and Axion - Axent´s joint partners in the Axent joint venture – have brought together a lengthy experience in maintaining and operating critical infrastructures and in delivering connectivity solutions to the wide telco and digital industry. Having said that, yes, it has been very exciting 2 years, fortunately delivering growth and outperforming our initial ambitions.
Q. What are the key factors for this?
It is a combination of different factors. From the very start Axent felt somehow welcome by the customers. This initial attitude has happily moved into recognition and the awarding of a wide range of projects, some of them truly distinctive. Axent has brought into the market a new alternative footprint for the long-distance connectivity between the major traffic hubs in the Iberian Peninsula. Customers have acknowledged the importance of those being delivered on a highly resilient, safe infrastructure – natural gas grid based – that is end-to-end operated and maintained, and based in our owned assets. The determination of the shareholders to support a growth strategy and the ambition to become a relevant player in this market is another critical factor for all this.
Q. Spain is more and more a relevant market in itself, what are the key drivers for that growth?
Spain is the fifth economy within Europe and a world leading country in fibre-to-the-home investments. We are already seeing that a growing share of households that have high capacity fibre at their doorstep are moving to subscribing retail services. This is one of the drivers for a growing demand for high capacity and redundant routes for the long-haul networks. We are also seeing a big impact on the internet content and cloud services providers that are announcing large investments to deliver services locally in Spain. Mobile networks migration to 5G is, like in other countries, another expected driver for fibre demand. And finally let´s not forget Spain´s geo-strategic position for the large international routes connecting Europe to North Africa, the Americas, the Middle East… to the rest of the world. Spain is becoming a major international hub and redundant high capacity routes between the different submarine cables are needed. Axent connects these hubs through our owned network and along unique routes.
Q. How is Axent positioned to deliver solutions to the international traffic demand?
Our customers are acknowledging that not all fibre networks are alike. The large players delivering global services are very selective and demanding on what they require from a transport operator.
Most of these customers are buying buried fibre only. Axent´s network is 100% underground and therefore less vulnerable to unexpected events causing outages. There are no restrictions to operate on the fibre, meaning that natural gas operation needs not to be affected, reason being for Axent delivering top-rate operations SLAs.
It is mostly about the safety and resilience of Axent´s fibre because it takes advantage of the very strict technical requirements with which the gas grid was designed and built, with which is operated and maintained today.
Axent has brought to the market a wide footprint that wasn´t available before while providing 100% redundant alternatives for the long-distance routes.
We have also reached very compelling partnering agreements to interconnect Axent´s network to those of relevant global network providers so we have now extended our reach to the global projects.