Revolutionizing Subsea Colocation with Gil Santaliz

IG Editor-in-Chief speaks one-on-one with Gil Santaliz, who came out of retirement about four years ago to build and operate one of the first purpose-built Subsea Colocation facility in the world, which is at the confluence of data center, subsea and terrestrial fiber.

NJFX is viewed as a revolutionary model in the data center and subsea industry. Please shed some light on the NJFX model’s unique selling proposition.  

At NJFX, we are the owners and operators of carrier-neutral data centers, wherein we don’t take ownership of the subsea cable or terrestrial fiber system. The term carrier-neutral is overused by some operators of the cable, who claim they’re neutral because they sell capacity to other carriers. However, we are not in the telecommunications industry by any way with reference to revenue. We own and operate a Tier III purpose-built facility that is hurricane-proof and 64 feet above sea level so as to withstand the most adverse natural and manmade disasters. In fact, selling or reselling any network services to our customers in the building is not part of our repertoire.

Which subsea and terrestrial networks are currently at NJFX? What’s your projection for NJFX’s future?

We view NJFX as a campus environment in Wall, New Jersey. It comprises a 10-acre lot with two cable landing stations. One of these two cables—originally built by Tyco back in 2002-2003—has been prevailing since almost 20 years and is now owned and operated by the Tata Group. Today, there are three live subsea cables that terminate their gear in the facility; two owned by Tata and the third being Seabras-1. The customers from the Tata landing station cross-connect to NJFX and subsequently, hand-off their capacity. As a Tier III purpose-built facility, NJFX owns the Meet-Me-Room in both the buildings that are interconnected together. At the NJFX facility, the HAVFRUE cable is slated to land later this year, which will connect the United States to Ireland, Norway and Denmark. HAVFRUE will be the first-of-its-kind cable in the North Atlantic to be built in almost two decades to connect mainland Europe to the U.S. Influential names such as Google, Facebook, Bulk Infrastructure and Aqua Comms are members of the consortium.

Gil Santaliz with NJFX business partners

What is your strategic expansion plan for the NJFX campus?

We have 48 acres of additional land that is currently being zoned for a data center park. This land can be used for building additional cable landing stations and also as stand-alone data centers that will be operationally independent buildings for carriers and enterprises. Our vision for the campus is to interconnect every building, so you can access both the subsea and terrestrial networks from any building seamlessly.

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