Lots going on this week already around the world, here’s a quick look:
Reliance Globalcom has appointed a new CEO for its offshore businesses, which consist of the Flag, Yipes, and Vanco assets. None other than Bill Barney will be taking the helm, a bit more than a year and a half after his unexpected departure from Pacnet, which he had led for some 10 years. The company’s current CEO Punit Garg will be tightening his focus to the Indian enterprise market. Bringing in Barney suggests that Reliance hasn’t found a way to monetize the Globalcom assets in the near term despite some strong rumors last Spring that a deal was near.
Ciena picked up another transpacific 100G win late last week at Pacnet. Pacnet is upgrading its transpacific link, which consists of two of the five fiber pairs of the Unity cable connecting Japan with the US West Coast. Ciena’s coherent 100G technology is providing the reach for the 9,600 undersea miles.
Huawei Marine has completed a unique, 10 month submarine cable build for the Portuguese telecom Viatel (a new one to me, and distinct from the Viatel that is now part of Digiweb in the UK). The 685km Flores-Corvo Submarine Cable System completes connectivity for the Atlantic archipelago known as the Azores. Flores and Corvo are the easternmost of the chain, and had been served by satellite. As part of the build, the new cable apparently traverses a 70 foot cliffside as it comes on shore.
And while DT’s T-Mobile US unit continues to get M&A rumor attention, its International Carrier Sales & Solutions division is expanding way over in Asia. ICSS has opened a new IP PoP in Hong Kong, giving it a base from which to better serve Asian markets. They hope to double their market share in Asia within three years.
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Barney finally lands a job! He has been knocking on doors for over two years (even before his “exit” from Pacnet). But old dogs don’t learn new tricks and his ever faithful Wilfred Kwan is apparently joining him at Reliance. We can only wonder why Barney will be successful in an organization needing discipline and serious focus when he was notorious for spare no expense expansion previously.
Barney was reputedly let go from PacNet for white-anting every sale deal put before it, much to the chagrin of the owners. Given that RGC has been on the block for some time now, one might surmise that this would be one of the tasks he might be asked to execute. If so, they have got the wrong person for the job.
RGC – which when all is said and done is little more than the FLAG submarine cable business – is a tightly run shop, focussed on selling wholesale bandwidth intra- North Asia (FNAL), Asia-Europe (FALCON, FEA) and Asia-US. It is a challenging environment, given that major customers continue to exploit their options to self-build on many key routes.
Running a successful business in this environment requires outstanding customer relations (both quality of service and overall credibility/respect within the industry), intelligent decisions about investments and upgrades, and the ability to partner effectively when necessary. RGC has an outstanding Asia team led by Owen Best. One wonders what the impact of Barney will have on them – after the shock and disbelief has worn off.
Appointing Barney is a major blunder. Staggeringly bad appointment. I feel for the team.