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Telco FairPoint Expands Data Center Business in New Hampshire

The Telecommunications provider has a budding data center services business, opening its second New England data center

FairPoint Communications, equipped with several thousand employees and several hundred offices, has opened its second New Hampshire data center roughly one year after dipping its toes into the data center pool for the first time.

The company has experience running telco-grade central office facilities, which it said lends itself to running mission critical data centers.

"We’ve been running data centers for 15 years internally," said Chris Alberding, vice president of products. "Our first data center was an expansion in an existing internal data center. We decided to put in some rack space and see how it does, and we sold half very quickly."

That experience was used as a business case and the seeds of a data center business. The company invested $2.5 million in renovating some 4,000 square feet in a recently opened data center in downtown Manchester.

FairPoint is the latest in a string of traditional telecommunications companies choosing to increase their focus on data center services. Traditional moneymaking businesses like landlines have long been shrinking, so telecoms have to look elsewhere to offset the drop in revenue. Its data center business is just starting and remains a small portion of the 3,000-person company’s revenue.

Alberding said that shrinking switching technology has opened up a lot of space. So, in an effort to repurpose it, the company currently offers the colocation basics of space, power, connectivity, and remote hands. This is symbolic of a wider move occurring as telecommunications companies evolve into technology companies, said Alberding.

"It’s expanding our customer portfolio and products," he said. "Our goal is to continue to look at gaps that customers have and need and what services we have and can build. Data centers were relatively easy ones and the first step in evolving."

Manchester is centrally located, with FairPoint touting its New Hampshire data centers as either a primary or secondary data center for those in a 60-mile radius. It also has a 16,000-mile fiber network that customers may tap.

Beyond New Hampshire, the company has a big presence with customers in Maine and Vermont, two states where it hopes customers will tap the data center for disaster recovery services, according to FairPoint Executive Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer Tony Tomae.

Alberding said that many businesses are showing high interest. The company said it is targeting startups to Fortune 100 companies and offering everything from half a rack to customized cages in a “pay-as-you-grow” license model. Instead of overbuilding on-premise space, FairPoint - and colocation in general - allows customers to pay for what they need rather than overbuild to accommodate future needs.

 

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