Many colocation providers focus on footprint, pitching national or international reach, but one infrastructure and fiber optic provider from the US has found thinking locally instead of globally can also attract a market, especially when you target carriers as customers.
Wilcon, which operates data centers out of Southern California - including 530 6th Street, 609 West 7th and on a number of floors at the One Wilshire carrier hotel owned by GI Partners in downtown Los Angeles - has been expanding fast as a result of this local approach.
This month it announced it is adding 25% more capacity to One Wilshire, where it already has space as a result of an acquisition of IX2. When Wilcon took over IX2 – in 2012 – IX2 claimed to have the “widest array of interconnection options” for downtown LA, and it says its expansion on the famous stretch of road, which connects four business districts, is only increasing its reach.
The recent expansion added 5,000 sq ft to its 20,000 sq ft of operations there. It means Wilcon now leases the 3rd, 12th, 16th and 28th floors of One Wilshire (each floor has its own power and cooling and connectivity to other Wilcon floors).
Wilcon also operates a growing fiber network with 3,000 route miles covering the US west coast, from San Diego in the south to Santa Clarita in the North, and has connections to 1,000 major internet hubs and a presence in most major colo facilities across the region, including CoreSite, Telx and Equinix, with cross connects into its own facilities.
The aggressive fiber rollout was completed in March this year. This followed Wilcon's integration of down town LA fiber optic network operator Wilshire Connection's network into its IX2 data center, the One Wilshire Building and the Freedom Dark Fiber Networks’ high-capacity regional dark fiber route. Wilcon purchased Freedom in July last year. All three companies now operate under the Wilcon name. And now the core business of the company is selling space power and cross connects. Only CoreSite claims to be a larger connectivity player in this region in this space.
Making it big in LA
Wilcon president and CEO Jon DeLuca says, however, that what Wilcon has done in Southern California would be difficult to replicate in other geographies. Part of this is down to market, part of is about the benefits of being in Southern California (SoCal) itself.
“The Southern California market, LA in particular, is somewhat different to the rest of the US, and this has really created an opportunity for us,” DeLuca says. “In other markets, larger national and international operators like Equinix, CoreSite and Telx have advantages because of their multiple locations. In LA, because SoCal is so spread out, there are more micro markets.
“Downtown Equinix, Telx and CoreSite all actually connect into the One Wilshire building and then to other leading carrier hotels. We have created an extensive network infrastructure ourselves, and this reaches markets that would be too small for other operators to warrant building in.”
International carriers make up a large part of Wilcon’s customers. Much like 60 Hudson Street in New York is the landing point for European carriers, many of the Asia Pacific carriers look for a Point of Presence in One Wilshire. And it isn’t just carriers. Today cloud and hosting providers wanting to reach Asia Pacific from the US, or the US from Asia Pacific, are taking advantage of One Wilshire’s network-centric view.
Then there are the businesses in LA. Local businesses seem to have a huge appetite for data at present. In January Wilcon completed a new high-capacity network for Los Angeles Center Studios, which hosts media and entertainment tenants – not surprising given the region’s Hollywood routes.
Entrepreneurs are also driving business, with numerous start-ups forming to cross-sell network capacity.
LA’s attitude to business drives much of this activity. “I might be the first to ever say this,” DeLuca says. “But doing business in LA, and in California, is more favourable then in New York. While [the government] does not offer incentives, they make it is easier to do business here. Even the landlords are more favourable. No body owns buildings in their own sense, everyone rents for data centers, and it means the landlords are a lot more sophisticated,” DeLuca says.
Wilcon even purchases its power from the building - landlords often control the provisioning and the gen sets leaving Wilcon to focus on its own infrastructure.
DeLuca says he believes the LA corridor is not saturated, yet. And Wilcon is planning to further expand its footprint in the downtown LA corridor to take advantage of this. The presence of media companies in the belt, cloud service providers and communications companies are all driving growth. And this is leading to demand for this lower-tier market.