'Panama as a regional data center'

Sunday, May 05 2013 @ 08:25 PM UTC

Contributed by: Anonymous

Panama is emerging as a strategic center of the Americas for data storage and processing, this is shown by the dozen companies that have invested about 250 million dollars to open operations in the country.

Most of these firms offer their services to banks and telephony in Central America and the Caribbean, and "they have found in Panama a safe haven for their data," said the head of the Panamanian Authority for Government Innovation (AIG), Eduardo Jaen in an interview.

"Panama respects the information in those storage sites and, in fact, we want Panama to continue being a center in the forefront of this whole industry," said Jaen, an industrial engineer with a master's degree in business administration.

The Central American country, one of the nations with the fastest economic growth in the world with 10.6% in 2012, seems to have everything needed for the development of the data industry.

It has an exceptional international connectivity, with five systems of undersea fiber optic cables and "two more being studied," Jaen said. The country, with a territory of 75,517 square kilometers and about 3.5 million people, also has a "high degree of sophistication of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT)," said the engineer.

Jaén said the government of the Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli, has been developing since the beginning of his term in 2009, "a very ambitious program to provide free wireless internet to the people and we have done it from border to border."

"When we took over the government in 2009, Internet penetration was 35% and it now is 46%, one of the highest in Latin America. This motivated companies to improve their broadband infrastructure and now Panama is the fourth country in Latin America in terms of broadband infrastructure," he said.

Other factors that make Panama attractive as a regional data center is its geographical position in the center of the hemisphere and out of the path of hurricanes and cyclones, and its political and economic stability, said the Panamanian engineer. Therefore, large firms like Britain's Cable & Wireless, the Mexican Kio Networks and Telefónica from Spain have installed and maintained processing and data storage sites in Panama.

"We have been working with companies in the category of Google, HP, Dell, with the largest ‘cloud’ computing infrastructure from Latin America here in Panama," which have also established their headquarters in Panama, with more than 3,000 employees, stated the head of the Government Innovation Authority.

Kio by itself has invested more than 60 million dollars in Panama and has a category 4 data center, the strongest in the region, that can withstand hurricanes, earthquakes and has 100% redundancy in all systems, he said.

Panama becoming a regional data center "is something that is already happening" because "the ecosystem is being built: undersea cables, datacenters, multinational companies, large processors already giving services to those companies that are here", he added.

Storage centers "are a consequence of technology, they are taking everything to cloud computing," and this trend will remain and expand to all sectors that handle large volumes of data.

"We anticipate it will evolve to other sectors such as health, in industries that require processing power and large storage because the more equipment they can put together, the cheaper the service becomes," said Jaen.

The processing and storage of data "is a fast growing field in Panama," said the head of the Government Innovation Authority, allowed to "speculate that future investments" in the sector will almost certainly be "much bigger than 250 million", which have already been paid out. (Mi Diario)

Editor's Comment: Yet another rapidly expanding sector of the Panamanian economy. Can anyone remember the last time I had to write a negative story about the Panamanian economy. I can't...

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