Q. How would you characterise the wholesale market in Latin America today?
Many trends you see globally are also common to Latin America and the Caribbean, but one difference is that it’s catching up on broadband penetration, so you’re seeing more growth as compared to Europe and the US. The region is also seeing a leapfrogging of some of the legacy technologies directly to technologies like highspeed fibre – so I think you’ll see it catch up quickly. There have also been shifts in where data centres and hyperscale facilities are being located in the Americas. Data storage and processing power that have traditionally been concentrated in the US are being brought closer to the customer and moving south, delivering faster local access in Latin America. In addition, enterprises are moving their data and processing off-premises and into the cloud, helping further drive wholesale connectivity.
Q. What trends are making these transitions necessary?
There are a number of trends causing this: one is requirements for lower latency, which matters for a variety of applications. If you think about where technology trends are going, whether autonomous driving, IoT, AI or smarter cities, having the data closer for real-time processing is critical. The US will still be important in terms of traffic flow, but wholesale will become more about combining locations in a true cloud. Where I think you’ll win is where you’re not a single pointto-point provider, but you connect to a number of locations for different use cases, particularly as data moves to the edge. If you look at our network map, you’ll see many connections between multiple countries such as those in Central and South America and the Caribbean islands, including festoon cables, and long-line connections to the US. We provide the critical infrastructure for many countries to connect and interconnect, via the ‘daisy chain’ that forms our network between the Americas. Liberty Latin America split off from parent Liberty Global in 2018, which had acquired Cable & Wireless Communications earlier. As a result of our history, we inherited a plethora of different brands. So we’ve simplified things by changing our name from C&W Networks to Liberty Networks, a subsidiary of Liberty Latin America. I think this makes it easier for people to understand where we fit. It also provides a moment to refresh what we’re doing, as well as tell people about our assets and what we do that’s unique in the region. The new brand helps us to tell our story clearly, which I think is a really good story.
Q. How do you see Liberty Networks’ current position in the market and where are the most promising locations in the Americas?
We position ourselves as a gateway to the Americas, with a presence in the central part of the region. We serve large markets such as Mexico and Colombia, which we’re excited about as traffic drivers going forward. Initially, data and data centres tend to follow large population centres, but I think you’ll also see more transit-driven hubs develop that connect other markets. In that respect, we see opportunities in Panama, Costa Rica and beyond. At 4 to 5 million people in each of those two countries, neither has a large population, but what they do have is the opportunity to be at that crossroads in the transport of data – with a lot of fibre connectivity coming to and from large markets like Chile and Brazil.
Q. What are the company’s plans in the Americas going forward?
Part of it will be continuing to upgrade to meet the traffic explosion in the region and playing in the data centre infrastructure space as well, while leveraging our existing assets and putting them to new uses. Our goal is also to continue expanding our business in the Americas, stay close to our partners and customers, and leverage our mesh platform to pre-empt emerging trends and expand accordingly. We’re building a ‘deep’ network to make sure we have the infrastructure to serve the traffic of tomorrow, which will be driven by things like AI and the metaverse. For this, you want the lowest latency possible, plus multiple routes for redundancy – and the type of mesh network we’ve been building will be critical to these developments.