Singapore's first 'neutral' Internet exchange launched

Honolulu-based Pihana Pacific Inc. has announced the launch of Singapore's first "neutral" Internet Exchange (IX) data centre Wednesday.

Richard Kalbrener, president and CEO of Pihana, also announced the launch of its regional headquarters and Network Operation Centre (NOC) in Singapore, citing the choice of Singapore as "pivotal" to its regional strategy. The Singapore-based NOC will support Pihana's facilities throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

Chairman of Pihana Pacific, Lambert Onuma, stressed that its business model is based on neutrality: for example, it does not affiliate themselves with any particular bandwidth carrier or provider. Thus it expects to attract a whole host of new service providers to its facilities in Singapore and the Asia Pacific region. Currently, Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. and StarHub Pte. Ltd. have already signed up as infrastructure providers for Pihana's IX data centre, and other major players like WorldCom Inc. and AT&T Corp. are expected to come on board in the near future.

According to Simon Phoon, vice president Asia Pacific of Pihana, while it offers services like server collocation at its facility, Pihana expects "significant revenue from managed and professional services" and other value-added services like storage and security.

Kalbrener also emphasised its strong Asia-Pacific focus, as the coming months will see IX data centres in major cities in the region, namely Tokyo, Osaka, Seoul, Hong Kong, Taipei and Sydney, turning operational. He also revealed that it is "looking for the right partner" in India, and were also looking at the possibility of setting up a facility in China. Besides the Singapore facility, Pihana currently has two IX data centres in Honolulu and Los Angeles.

Founded in January 2000, Pihana has raised US$236 million in funding to date and according to Kalbrener, is the "largest technology investment in Asia Pacific" for Goldman Sachs (Asia), Pihana's lead investor.

With no intention to go public in the near future, Kalbrener expects Pihana to break even by the end of 2002.

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