Singapore Fortifies Hosting Hub Status

The data hosting industry here is poised to gain much from Singapore's liberalized telecommunications industry.

Since the liberalization, more than 140 new telecommunications licences have been awarded, noted Teo Ming Kian, co-chairman of Singapore's Economic Development Board (EDB).

"As new Internet service providers (ISP) and Internet Exchanges set up in Singapore, and new submarine cables are brought in, Singapore's position as a major hosting center will be further strengthened," he said.

Singapore's telecommunications infrastructure comprises an extensive telecommunications network providing 45Mbps (bits per second) Internet connectivity to all major cities, and more than 600Mbps connection to the U.S.

Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel) is one example of a local telecommunications player that has taken advantage of the liberalization to provide Web hosting data management and vaulting services.

It has done this through its equity participation with FailSafe Corporation Holdings to form FailSafe Corporation Singapore (FailSafe Singapore), a 50-50 joint venture company that also specializes in outsourcing mission critical application, and business continuity services.

Teo was officiating at Failsafe Singapore's official opening this week of its first site -- a 43,000 square-foot facility. A larger site of 364,000 square feet should be ready in the last quarter of 2001.

As for real estate usage for the purpose of providing collocation and hosting services, EDB expects this to increase by about 600 percent before 2002, from less than 200,000 square feet at the beginning of this year.

"Based on existing projects under cultivation, Singapore will see more than 1.5 million square feet of space taken up for collocation services by the end of 2001," Teo said.

The local hosting business is also being boosted by the Asia-Pacific info-communications technology (ICT) industry's high growth potential that has created the demand for data hosting with value-added activities such as time- and mission-critical, and recovery services, EDB said.

Furthermore, with the growth of e-business, and Singapore's aim to be a major hub for this, the ability to store and deliver quality data is crucial. For the ICT industry to continue to grow, data hosting forms an important component, EDB notes.

"For Web hosting, we see greater demand coming from Asian companies, but for collocation services we see multinational corporations (MNC) accounting for a significant portion of the market," said Dane Anderson, vice president, systems and Internet, IDC Asia-Pacific.

However, the research company does not see foreign MNCs using Singapore's hosting services for their primary data centers.

"Foreign MNCs tend to place their primary data centers in their country of origin. In addition, although improving, hosting services in Singapore are not yet as competitive as they are in the United States," Anderson said.

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