NAP of the Americas promises telecommunications carriers the fastest access to Latin America and the rest of the world.
The giant switching station, launching this week in Miamis Overton neighborhood, is the first large Network Access Point (NAP) to open since the federal government mandated four as part of its exit from the Internet several years ago. Its the first ever to be "carrier-neutral," run by a consortium rather than an incumbent or legacy carrier.
Success will depend on how many of the 100 carriers that joined to support NAP of the Americas actually rent space in the six-story, 750,000-square-foot building. Global Crossing has signed on as anchor tenant.
Complicating matters is FloridaMIX, a rival NAP backed by BellSouth. The presumption that two rival NAPs could both fill their spaces seemed more sound before the telecom industrys plunge.
"In hindsight, it would probably be better if everybody was in the same building — it would be viable more quickly," said David Joyce, senior equity analyst at Guzman & Co. investment bank in Miami. "But its a free market.
The timing is perfect for Global Crossing, which is almost finished with its worldwide optic fiber network, said Kevin Burgoyne, vice president of brand marketing at Global Crossing. It will occupy 125,000 square feet of the NAP of the Americas building.
"The big reason we took a major interest in it was its a carrrier-neutral facility," Burgoyne said. "Carriers tend to serve their own interest. The best thing is to have a carrier-neutral facility."
Miami is a key location. "Anybody interested in sending or receiving packets to North America or South America, Miami is the place," said Monty Bannerman, chief technical officer at Terremark Worldwide, which owns and operates NAP of the Americas and the building in which it is housed.
The building is made of poured concrete and designed to withstand a Category 5 hurricane. Its 32 feet above sea level, which should be high enough to avoid flooding.
Terremark isnt releasing the names of tenants, other than Global Crossing, but among those reportedly interested in leasing space are such heavyweights as Cable & Wireless, Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica and even, perhaps, BellSouth.