Q&A with Paul Scott, president of C&W Networks
08 February 2017 | Jason McGee-Abe
Q. What have been the highlights and key developments for your company in the past year?
2016 was another very successful year for C&W Networks, increasing not only revenue and profitability but most importantly, continued growth in our network reach, scale and reliability. Wholesale customers continued to select us as their provider of choice in the pan-Caribbean region where we continue to be scored very highly by our customers based on third party Net Promoter Score surveys. Our commitment to serve the region with ever expanding high quality solutions, has helped us increase the breadth and depth of our wholesale customer base, which included the successful development and launch of new innovative products such as our carrier-grade DDoS solution.
Also, we have and continue to develop new partnering models across the full spectrum of carriers from the world’s largest global carriers to the regions smallest. The important milestone for 2016 was Liberty Global’s acquisition of Cable & Wireless Communications for approximately $7.4 billion. The combination of C&W with Liberty Global’s LiLAC Group assets has created a leading communications player across the Latin American and Caribbean region, with strong market positions, underpinned by C&W Networks’ high-quality terrestrial broadband and submarine fibre optic networks. This region is now poised for even greater expansion of broadband and media services given Liberty’s vast expertise and assets. In 2016, C&W Networks 42 country-submarine-fibre ecosystem, expanded even more as it interconnected to Liberty Global’ s “AORTA” European fibre network allowing a reach out to 12 additional countries in Europe. In addition, we recently exceeded the landmark milestone of 2TB of active service capacity in our subsea network.
Q. What are the main challenges of operating in your market and how are you looking to tackle those challenges over the next period?
Operating in the Latin American and the Caribbean islands has many challenges for not only retail service providers (our customers) but also wholesale carrier service providers such as ourselves. However, with very close communication with our customer base, we have learned to overcome these challenges together while developing new “win-win” opportunities that benefit our customers and our company. Maintaining high service availability for our customer traffic even in difficult times such as undersea or terrestrial cable cuts or equipment failures has been our hallmark. We have, and will continue to deploy leading technology such as remote monitoring and telemetry capabilities to ensure we maintain carrier class performance that our customers can count on. Moreover, our highly qualified personnel across multiple countries and their can do spirit to serve our customers remains a cornerstone of our culture and success.
Q. What are your strategic priorities as well as expansion plans for the regions in 2017?
Some of our strategic priorities for 2017 include continue working to deliver improved capabilities and solutions that benefit our wholesale carrier customers and thus enable them to improve their competitive position and success. Based on our demonstrated carrier grade network performance, we are increasingly seeing global carriers looking to outsource certain functions to C&W Networks for cost savings and improved “go to market” capability. We also continue to invest in network upgrades and expansion with 100G technology standard throughout our entire network. In addition, as always, we continue to examine the merits of expanding our subsea footprint to new markets as exemplified by our interconnect with Liberty Europe via existing transatlantic subsea network and their 12 European countries on net capability.
Q. Are there any topics / challenges facing you in 2017 that may alter your strategy?
Our strategy planning is an annual detailed exercise and endeavors to project our forward roadmap 3-5 years out. Nevertheless, one of our demonstrated strengths is the ability to stay nimble and flexible and thus course correct as market dynamics and new opportunities present themselves. By staying close to our customers, we are able to ensure we are making the right investments in products, services, capabilities that best meet their needs.
Q. What do you hope to achieve out of your attendance at the Capacity Caribbean event?
Like every year, first and foremost, we come to meet with our customers and listen to their needs and challenges so we can better meet their expectations and serve them better. It also provides the networking function to see our technology partners, regulators, and other industry players. This year we are also coming as part of Liberty Global so we are showcasing our new capabilities across the Atlantic as well as a wider portfolio of products and services such as our carrier-grade DDoS solution and new partnering models across the full spectrum of carriers.
Q. What are the biggest threats facing wholesalers in 2017?
Among the biggest challenges facing our business and our region is the business case ROIC viability and justification to continue investing heavily in building, expanding, maintaining networks given intensifying competition, OTT impact, etc.
Q. Do you see convergence as a major or minor threat?
Fixed mobile convergence is a natural evolution for our industry but generally provides upside opportunity given the unrelenting demand for international broadband capacity necessary to power such converged network broadband wireless and fixed line retail offerings. With respect to consolidation of our industry, that is a global phenomenon and given Liberty has proven to be an aggressive acquiring and consolidator in this space it provides a unique opportunity to grow in the region.
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