Q&A: Gabriel Holgado, SVP, global account division & wholesale services, Level 3 Communications, Latin Americas

16 March 2016 | Jason McGee-Abe

Level 3 Communications’ SVP, global account division & wholesale services, Gabriel Holgado, tells Capacity how Level 3 is going to focus on its core products in Latam and highlights seven major trends in the region.

What are your strategic priorities in Latin America for 2016?

Gabriel Holgado340pxWe plan on focusing on our core products, which include data, voice and collaboration, video, data centers and managed services. Overall, we will direct any expansion plans and prioritise by aligning to our customers’ business objectives, which we believe are composed of three main topics: growth, efficiency and security. Everything we do is oriented toward helping our customers grow their businesses and operate more efficiently in an inherently secure network environment.

In 2015, our Level 3 Threat Research Labs team identified a significant increase in cyberattacks in Latin America, particularly through Botnets. Among the countries with the most attacks were Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Panama. This is of great concern for the entire region and something we have already taken steps to remedy by providing ongoing monitoring and mitigating approximately 60 Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks daily. We believe these attacks are not going to slow down, so it is our objective to provide our customers with proven best practices to protect their information and make the Internet safer place.

What have been the key developments for you in the region over the past 12 months?

The last 12 months for Level 3 can be summarised as a time of expansion. In 2015, we expanded our Latin American Internet Protocol (IP) and metro network by 1,000 kilometers. We also added new nodes and expanded existing nodes in several key cities in Brazil, Colombia and Mexico.

Another one of our very significant projects was the cable landing on Colombia’s Pacific coast. It was a project years in the making, finally completed last year. The new Pacific subsea route provides efficient communications access from Bogotá, Medellin, Cali and other Colombian cities to major cities across the Americas, Europe and Asia.

We also launched our newest Premier Elite data center facility in Cali, Colombia, offering redundant high-density power and cooling systems, multi-tier security and direct connectivity to Level 3’s global network.

What major trends do you see surfacing in the Latin American market this year?

We see seven major trends surfacing globally, but which also apply to Latin America. The first is cloud, driving new enterprise network architecture as companies increasingly outsource to the cloud. Second is security, as we see an increase in the number, types, sophistication and volume of threats. Third, real-time communication, such as voice, is moving to IP-based delivery platforms. Fourth is globalisation, as we watch the continued globalisation of value chains for large enterprises and multi-national companies that are in search of top-line growth and efficiency. Fifth, content availability everywhere and anywhere; we predict a rapid rise in the consumption of IP video, often via mobile devices, driving traffic growth across the network. Sixth, big data will continue to increase in the amount of data being captured and stored, while new approaches emerge to derive insights via analysis. Seventh, software-defined networks, with a separation of network control from data forwarding for greater efficiency, adaptability and responsiveness. The latter could also be stated as “software-defined everything”.

What are some of the challenges of operating in the Latin American market?

Some of the main challenges in the Latin American market revolve around telecommunications market reform and opening markets to competition. Also, an ongoing challenge has been the lack of infrastructure to bridge the digital divide, which inhibits access to communication expansion into rural areas.

What do you hope to achieve by attending Capacity Latam 2016?

It is an event Level 3 looks forward to every year because it provides great networking opportunities while strengthening the business relationship with our customers and partners. I hope to also gain further insight into future trends and topics that impact the entire wholesale telecom community.