Telecom players continue Latin American expansion

Latin America wants to speed up and enhance its telecommunications services. And it wants it now.

The demand for advanced telecommunications services, including broadband Internet connections and high-speed data transmissions, is heating up in Latin America, and providers are scrambling to keep up. So far this week, several major telecommunications players have announced new and improved services for the region, where about US$45 billion was spent in telecom services in 1999, according to Pyramid Research Inc.

Global Crossing Ltd. announced on Monday that its global IP-based fiber optic network is now operating in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo in Brazil. This gives this South American country a direct link to North America, Europe and Asia via the Global Crossing network, which should allow operators to provide new services and improve existing ones, the company said. Specifically, the link should allow for faster Internet connections and better performance of operations that require a lot of bandwidth, such as telemedicine and distance learning, the company said. Operators using the Global Crossing network in Latin America include AT&T Latin America Corp., PSINet Inc. and ImpSat Fiber Networks Inc.

Meanwhile, Diveo Broadband Networks Inc., which provides broadband telecommunications services in Latin America, announced on Monday the opening of its second Internet data centre in Brazil. Like the first one, the new one is also located in the state of Sao Paulo, but on a different municipality, the company said. At the 170,000-square feet center, Diveo will offer a variety of managed Internet services, such as Web hosting, application hosting, Internet access, server colocation and network security services. The centre will be staffed around the clock. In addition to the two in Brazil, Diveo has four other Internet data centers: in Argentina, Colombia, México and Miami. It plans to open a second one in Argentina this month.

ImpSat Fiber Networks, another provider of broadband services to businesses in the region, announced on Monday it has tied its networks in Brazil, Argentina and Chile to the U.S. using the Global Crossing network. This should result in an improvement of the company’s data transmission services, the company said. ImpSat has operations in Argentina, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, México, Brazil, the United States, Chile and Perú, and has about 2,400 clients.

Finally, AT&T Latin America reported on Tuesday that it is experiencing “an explosive growth in the demand for IP data services” in the region, and that Internet and data services accounted for 60 percent of the company’s revenue during this year’s first nine months.

ImpSat, based in Argentina, can be reached at Global Crossing, based in Hamilton, Bermuda, can be reached at Diveo, in Washington, D.C., is at AT&T Latin America, in Miami, can be found at