I suppose after Reliance Globalcom made its deal with Internap, it was inevitable that its erstwhile Indian rival Tata Communications would respond. Today Dan Rayburn reports that Tata has in fact made its move. Simultaneously investing $11.5M in BitGravity and launching its own CDN network based on BitGravity’s technology, I’d say they have called Reliance’s bluff and raised them a bit. Tata and BitGravity were already allied, having partnered back in April, so this move should come as no big surprise.
BitGravity is another of the CDNs in the pack that trails both the leader Akamai and its chasers Limelight and Level 3, they lack the necessary scale currently and thus are open to partners. Tata Communications burst onto the international telecom scene when it purchased the Tyco Global Network and Teleglobe – which had previously bought ITXC. Via TGN and Teleglobe, the company owns a few big submarine cables outright and capacity on dozens of others. However, on land they have little if any fiber in either the USA or Europe, instead leasing wavelength IRUs and such. Their IP backbone, which still shows up as Teleglobe, is ranked roughly 14th in size internationally – not amongst the biggest but still respectable. Wikipedia says they are transit-free, but with paid peering with Sprint – I’m going to dodge the question of whether that means they are ‘Tier-1’ because I think that title has become meaningless and unverifiable. Tata is relatively weak on non-international routes compared to others, and hence their CDN is likely to focus on delivery to less well-lit corners of the internet – perhaps complementing BitGravity’s current network, which surely emanates from the largest internet hubs, rather than duplicating nodes.
It remains to be seen just how Tata will attack the CDN space, so the effect of this announcement on the market leaders is still quite unclear. However, it seems certain that we should not discount the Indian carriers – they mean business and they have money to spend.
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