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y Staff Reporter Phil Anderson
There are now 26 telecommunications companies participating in the Miami-based Network Access Point (NAP) of the Americas, according to NAP of the Americas press representative Husein Cumber.
"We expect more to join as the momentum has now started to gain the attention of other carriers," Cumber said. Although no exclusively Latin American operators are directly involved in the project, they will benefit from higher incoming international traffic from North America, especially where NAP members have existing partnerships with regional operators, he added.
Key NAP members include: Impsat Fiber Networks (NASDAQ: IMPT), 360networks (NASDAQ: TSIX), EPIK Communications, Global Crossing (NASDAQ: GBLX), Williams Communications (NYSE: WCG), Panamsat (NASDAQ: SPOT), Cable & Wireless(NYSE: CWP), AT&T (NYSE: T), Net2Phone, GlobalXchange, ATC Teleports and Global NAPS.
There is no limit to the number of companies that can participate in the NAP, according to EPIK Communications executive VP Benjamin Finzi, who explained that the NAP will allow ISPs to obtain peering and transit between each other, as well as capacity circuits from carriers.
Carriers will not be required to make investments beyond their own equipment, co-location space and fiber required to connect to the NAP, Finzi said. Carriers may be given the opportunity to invest, deciding the amount on a voluntary basis, he added.
Finzi expects the NAP of the Americas to become "a hub of Internet traffic for all of Latin America, South America and the Caribbean."
There is also the possibility of merging with other exchange points to form a "virtual NAP", since all exchange points complement rather than compete with each other, Finzi explained. However, the development of a virtual NAP would depend on customer demand, he said.
NAP of the Americas issued Requests for Proposals (RFPs) last week for both a 9,290 sq. m. site and a project operator. So far 31 prospective project operators have requested copies of the RFP and organizers will accept offers until July 26, Husein said.
Offers are anticipated from companies including long distance operator Telcordia and Internet exchange carrier PAIX.net, as well as key NAP of the Americas members. The organizers are scheduled to decide on the project operator July 28 and the site selection by August 4.