DUBAI Nov 20 California's Equinix Inc
and du, a telecom operator in the United Arab Emirates,
launched an alliance on Tuesday to open an $80 million data
centre in Dubai to offer faster internet speeds in the Gulf
In a joint statement, the companies said the hub would be
the first of its kind in the Middle East and would be
operational from January 2013. It will be "carrier neutral,"
meaning telecom operators other than du will be able to use it.
Equinix, which has about 90 data facilities globally and
4,000 customers including IBM and HSBC, has
bought a newly-built mid-sized data centre in Dubai and will
invest $40 million in the project.
Du will invest a similar amount over the next five years,
providing connectivity and managed services to tenants, which
are likely to include financial institutions, telecom carriers
from other regions and internet content providers.
The alliance also plans to open a second facility in Abu
Dhabi that would require additional investment, but the
companies declined to provide further details.
"People's expectations about the speed of throughput and
content is constantly rising and there are many technologies to
improve performance, but one of the fundamental ones is to
locate the content as close as possible to the end user," Eric
Schwartz, Equinix president for Europe, Middle East and Africa,
told reporters on the sidelines of a news conference.
"With this facility the more applications and content that
are located here in the Middle East versus being served
somewhere in Europe or Asia, people will see meaningful
The bulk of data held at the Dubai centre is likely to come
from international firms using it as a hub to re-route traffic
to and from other regions, with some traffic diverted locally,
said Mahesh Jaishankar, du vice-president for investments.
Du said it would not seek to extend the alliance to other
Middle East countries, but Equinix said it may expand its
presence in the region.
"Our historic concentration is in the major European,
American and Asian capitals - this is the next step for us,"
Schwartz added. "A lot will depend on the regulatory and