ICT Question: Please introduce yourself and provide us with your profile.
I am the Chairman of GPX Global Systems, Inc. a private, for profit, neutral Internet peering business focused on the MENA and South Asian Regions. Prior to GPX Global Systems, I was President and CEO of Metromedia Fiber Networks. Before joining Metromedia in 1998, I held the position of VP for Sales and Marketing of Fujitsu America’s Fiber Optics Products Division that was responsible for selling into the US carrier market. Prior to Fujitsu, I had a 17 year career with Digital Equipment Corporation starting in network engineering and rising to become the General Manager of the Network Services Group, a 600 person systems integration business unit.
While at Metromedia, I was responsible for selling the metro dark fiber assets developed by the company. I was also responsible for evolving the company’s strategy to include new classes of services such as WaveChannel, Gigabit Ethernet, IP, data center hosting and colocation, and PAIX Peering services to sell to enterprise and carrier customers. I also helped the company develop its Managed Hosting platform to extend the value of the company’s fiber assets.
ICT Question: What was the incentive for you to enter into the Data Center Internet Exchange field?
We have previous experience in building and running Internet exchange businesses in many markets throughout the world. The role of an Internet exchange is to provide the core infrastructure that supports the efficient growth of the Internet in any market. It forms the essential foundation that allows ISPs, carriers, and content providers to efficiently grow their businesses and offer more advanced services.
During our business planning process we analyzed many markets along the FLAG and Sea-Me-We3/4 undersea cable systems and determined that there was an excellent opportunity to establish Internet eXchanges in the developing MENA and South Asian regions. Egypt was selected as our hub site for the MENA region as they had the growth and stability factors that we were looking for, and we felt that our GPX carrier neutral model, with state-of-the-art infrastructure, a 99.999% SLA, and multi-level security, would be discriminators for our success.
ICT Question: Would you please tell us what are GPX Egypt services and products and its main target customers?
First it is important to explain the role of our Internet eXchanges. We provide a highly secure and reliable carrier neutral data center environment where ISPs, content providers, e-businesses, commercial customers, and telecommunications service providers can collocate their servers and networking equipment. By carrier neutral we mean that any customer in our Internet eXchange has access to multiple service providers and can purchase bandwidth and services that best suit their business requirements.
GPX does not sell bandwidth or managed services. We provide a secure and reliable data center environment for our customers to collocate and buy and sell services to each other.
ICT Question: Why did you choose Egypt as a starting point for the set up of the first of many to come data centers in the MENA and Asia regions?
We have a plan to enter several markets along the FLAG and Sea-Me-We 3 / 4 cable systems. We believe there are several important market factors that allow an Internet exchange to be successful.
First the country or market has to be a major aggregation point for bandwidth; clearly Egypt fills that role with major undersea cable systems landing points in Alexandria, Port Said, and Suez. These major cable systems connect the MENA region with Asia and Europe.
Second, the government has to have progressive policies that support the growth of the Internet and technology industries. This is clearly a priority for the Egyptian Ministry of Communication and Information Technology and National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority. They have implemented many successful efforts such as the Free Internet initiative, market deregulation, and technology cooperation that will not only fuel the continued growth of the Internet and IT industries, but also position Egypt as an Internet and technology leader for the MENA region.
The third factor is that the country or market needs to be a business, cultural, and political hub for their region. Clearly Egypt fits that profile with its many successful industries, the abundance of content including music and film that originate in Egypt and are consumed across the region, and its political pedigree and stature across the region. Because of these factors, we believe Egypt is an excellent choice for GPX’s business development.
We are currently in the process of establishing a GPX Internet eXchange in India for the same reasons outlined above.
ICT Question: Do you expect GPX Egypt to excel in the Egyptian market and in how long?
Yes we absolutely do, Egypt is a fast growing Internet market and the economy is stable and growing. We not only plan to service the local market, but we plan to attract offshore content providers, e-businesses, and multi-national companies to Egypt. Our experience has shown that it typically takes 24-36 months to get the critical mass of ISPs, content providers, commercial customers, and telecommunications companies into a new Internet exchange. As long as the Internet market and economy continue to grow, it will not be a question of if we will be successful, but only of when.
ICT Question: Where do you think Egypt stands technologically in comparison to other fast developing countries in the world now-a-days?
In many ways technology growth is a function of the markets growth, and once again we believe that the Egyptian Ministry of Communication and Information Technology and National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority have done an excellent job in providing the foundation for growth.
If we look at the wireless market, the technology and services are as advanced as any in the world. If we look at the ISPs, they have deployed some of the most highly developed backbone technology available, including MPLS. The plans to create Internet based applications for e-government, and e-signature are very progressive and innovative for a developing market.
In our view many of the technologies, applications, and services being developed and implemented by industry and the Government, are positioning Egypt as one of the technology leaders amongst the developing markets.
ICT Question: What model does GPX depend on? And Why?
GPX Egypt provides a totally neutral platform for ISPs, Telcos, content providers, and/or commercial business to host their servers and create a Point of Presence at a highly secure, developed, and managed data center infrastructure. The neutral platform means that GPX customers are not limited to one bandwidth or service provider, but have access to multiple service providers and can purchase bandwidth and services that best suit their business requirements.
ICT Question: How about 2007 business targets??
2007 will be our first year of full operations; we will be launching our GPX Egypt Internet eXchange in the second quarter of 2007. Our goals are to aggressively market, our Internet eXchange, Egypt, and the MENA region globally. We are very excited about offering our services to the local and international markets.
ICT Question: How is GPX Egypt taking part in ICT07 this year?
GPX participation in ICT07 is considered a soft launching for our presence in the Egyptian and MENA region markets.
We are planning to officially launch the data center during the second quarter of 2007. We feel that it is important to have an early presence in a highly regarded regional IT event such as the ICT 2007.
In addition, we are taking this opportunity to announce the presence of an F-Root server in our data center. The server will mirror the F-root, one of the 13 ‘Root Name Servers’ located around the world which controls and organizes accessibility to the Internet. . Its presence in Egypt, through our facility, is considered as one of the fundamental elements of stability of the local ISPs backbone infrastructure.
Furthermore, this event will give us the chance to get better acquainted with international, regional, and local business entities, and establish a network of contacts that will be used to pave our way into the market.