INTERVIEW WITH MATEO WARD Neutrona Networks CEO
Latin American carrier Neutrona has announced plans to upgrade its pan-regional network infrastructure with a next-gen Juniper architecture that supports Software-Defined Networking (SDN).
Neutrona is both a new and old company, since you grew out of the demerged international carrier assets of IFX Networks. Is that an advantage and why?
Yes, absolutely. It’s an advantage that gives us the best of both worlds. We have the energy, ideas, fresh funding, and laser focus that you would expect from a new company. At the same time, we also enjoy the benefits of an established business. Major international customers receive experienced technical and operational support, profit from our strong relationships with local vendors throughout the region, and benefit from integrated systems and processes that provide a seamless and top-quality customer experience. Simply put, we can do things that a normal start-up can only dream about.
What makes the Latin American market attractive for global telecoms and for Neutrona?
Despite economic downturns in other parts of the world, especially in the USA and EMEA, Latin America’s consistent regional performance has made it practically a ‘safe harbor’ for economic growth in turbulent times. In addition, widespread mobile and Internet usage within Latin America means there is a growing demand for data transmission. International carriers can experience high organic growth even if they don’t grow market share, because the overall “pie” is getting bigger all the time.
So, you have a robust economy and a growing penetration rate for all things digital. Then add on top of that the strong presence of multi-national businesses who expect telecommunications capabilities and levels of reliability that match what they normally receive in their home markets. The carriers that support these companies have to offer solutions that cover a wide marketplace spanning over 20 countries with different infrastructures for domestic and international connectivity.
Faced with these challenges, carriers quickly recognize that they need a fast, flexible, trustworthy, and high-quality partner to do business here.
And so they turn to you.
That’s right. Neutrona is really the only choice for a pan-regional neutral business partner in Latin America in our market segment.
Let’s take a look at what is out there. The companies that own the sub-sea cables are wholesale providers, not partners. They are good at selling big pipes to carriers on the wholesale market and they are also good at providing enterprise solutions directly to enterprise customers. There are other local and multi-local telecom carriers that specialize at the local network level, and we have partnerships with these carriers to provide local access solutions.
But Neutrona offers advantages no one else can match. We are carrier-neutral, so we only think about what is the best unbiased solution for our customers. We don’t complete with our carrier partners in the enterprise market. Our Duality®network solutions provide access to at least two different protected sub-sea cables connecting international gateway cities.
Neutrona also takes care of so many “hands-on” details, such as customer premise equipment procurement and deployment, local access, and site visits within a carrier’s business model. We provide end-to-end service visibility and Ethernet OAM via our Accedian EtherNID deployment on all new services, and by the end of 2014, we will have operational a next-gen carrier Ethernet network with the newest Juniper routers, built-in SDN intelligence and advanced traffic engineering and analytics.
What do you see as the biggest challenges facing your customers and how do your solutions meet them?
I’d say the two biggest challenges are logistics and support.
As I mentioned earlier, we serve a large region that contains more than 20 countries with different cultures, rules, and ways of doing business. In fact, the biggest market, Brazil, doesn’t even speak Spanish. So when you talk about freight forwarding, customs, legal and regulatory requirements, local access coordination, technical site visits, building wiring, and different languages and dialects, it becomes quickly apparent how logistics can get extremely complex.
Fortunately, we have a lot of expertise and frankly what we think is a more sensible integrated approach. Unlike us, other carriers separate logistics and equipment procurement from service delivery, and from our experience, that can cause serious delays and headaches. We also keep in stock popular models and configurations of switches and routers in each major country within the region, so we respond quickly to customer needs.
Support can also be a huge challenge for our customers, because they rarely have a physical presence here, so we provide the presence for them. And we can make our support completely transparent. We act as if we’re their own NOC responding to customer issues, and we keep them informed with real-time information to help them properly manage end-customer expectations.
One last question. Where did you come up with the name “Neutrona?”
It’s actually an acronym for the three principles that define our company. We’re neutral. We’re on-net. And we are available everywhere. It’s more than just clever wordplay. Our name reinforces why we do the things we do every day while making it clear to our customers, our partners, and our employees what sets us apart from the competition.
Thank you for the time, Mateo
Kilometers of fiber connecting Latin American cities through Neutrona’s network..
hours per day Neutrona’s Network Operation Center monitors proactively the health of its services.
Number of countries where Neutrona provides access.
Number of connected access providers in Latin America.
Number of Points of Presence providing extended reach access in Latin America.