Why Miami is Latin America’s Center of Interconnection

Gustavo Garcia

Miami is synonymous with sandy beaches, fashion shopping and international cuisine. It’s home to the busiest cruise port in the world and one of the top U.S. destinations for international tourists. It is also the place with the largest Latin American population outside of Latin America (LATAM) and has a highly diverse and multilingual culture. Miami is so widely viewed as a LATAM hub that people often call it “the capital of Latin America.”

In the heart of Miami sits one of the city’s most recognizable buildings, yet only a few people know what happens inside its 7-inch thick reinforced-concrete walls, or under the roof that supports three massive white radomes. We at Equinix simply call it “MI1.” But to rest of the world, it’s the “Network Access Point of the Americas,” or “NAP” for short.

Equinix MI1 Data Center

MI1 was conceived in the early days of the public internet with two things in mind. First, it was to become a place for carriers to peer and exchange their traffic, particularly those from Latin America and the Caribbean (LA&C). Running terrestrial fiber optic cables through LA&C is almost impossible because of Latin America’s extremely challenging geography, such as the Andes, the longest continental mountain range on the planet; the Amazon, the world’s largest tropical rainforest; and the Antilles, which is made up of thousands of islands with more than 30 different flags. For connectivity, the region relies mostly on submarine cables that terminate in the Miami metro area and extend to MI1, which puts this unique building at the region’s economic and digital center.

Secondly, the NAP allows government, public sector organizations and enterprises to place their infrastructure as close as possible to the backbone of the internet. The vast majority of telecommunications traffic to and from LA&C travels through this massive 750,000 square-foot, purpose-built data center. At the time of its opening, MI1, then known as NOTA (short for NAP of the Americas), became the fifth internet exchange point in the world. It’s no surprise that the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) catalogs this building as “critical infrastructure,” which gives it a higher priority for additional assistance to keep operating, even in case of a disaster.

MI1 in an evolving digital world

MI1 has played a critical role in developing digital businesses in the North American and LA&C regions, especially in a digital world that is becoming more distributed than ever. The continuous introduction of portable, mobile and Internet of Things (IoT) devices means an ever-increasing number of LA&C users are both creating and consuming more data and a new breed of applications are relying heavily on real-time information.

As LA&C organizations scramble to adapt to digital in rapidly changing markets, they must adopt different cloud offerings from third-party IaaS, PaaS, or SaaS platforms, as well as IT service providers. Such complicated digital ecosystems can only be successful by moving more workloads and data to the digital edge, where commerce, population centers and digital ecosystems meet. This forces LA&C businesses to implement fast, secure, adaptable and reliable interconnection strategies where they can integrate the physical and virtual worlds. MI1 has provided interconnection solutions, such as the Equinix Cloud Exchange™ (ECX) Fabric that enable the integration of these digital technologies and ecosystems within digital businesses.

The growing demand for interconnection in LATAM

The LATAM region is a great example of a high-demand interconnection market. Its installed Interconnection Bandwidth capacity is expected to grow at 62% a year through 2020, according to the Global Interconnection Index, a study published by Equinix. That would make LATAM the world’s fastest-growing region for Interconnection Bandwidth capacity growth that is required to privately exchange data between businesses. The banking and insurance sector is positioned to be the largest segment for interconnection growth, representing 27% of the estimated LATAM interconnection bandwidth capacity in 2020. The energy and utility sector is expected to be the fastest growing segment at 97% CAGR.

With its superior infrastructure and interconnection possibilities, as well as access to multiple cloud and IT service providers, MI1 is a prime location for LATAM organizations working to transform their digital operations to meet the demands of the 21st century.

Register to attend our upcoming AWS Direct Connect launch event on May 17, 2018 for our customers based in the Florida, LATAM, and Caribbean markets.

Learn more about our Miami data centers or contact Equinix Global Sales.

Gustavo Garcia
Gustavo Garcia Global Solutions Architect at Equinix