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Thursday, 6 September, 2001, 13:06 GMT 14:06 UK
Panama seeks digital dividend
Panama City
The Altec "data hotel" is just outside Panama City
Panama has exploited its canal, or rather what runs through it, to positioned itself as South and Central America's most advanced link to the digital world.

Panamanian firm Altec has launched Central America's first "data hotel" to host the region's websites that currently using servers in the US and Europe.

The site is located on a former US military base on the banks of the Panama Canal, where seven submarine fibre-optic networks converge.

"This centre places Panama at the centre of the world's digital economy, just as the Panama Canal placed it at the centre of world trade," said Altec chief executive Nils Petterson.

"It's all about location. With the connectivity that we have here, we can offer clients the same level of service at costs 30% to 40% lower than our competitors."

Panama connection

Fibre-optic links, including the Arcos 1 network linking Central America and the Caribbean, and Global Crossing joining Asia to the US and Europe, feed into the Altec site.

It has the capacity to host some 10,000 servers, to support up to 1 million web sites, using the best bandwidth links in Latin America.

Clients pay rent of between $500 and $50,000 a month depending on the space and bandwidth they use.

"We also offer very high high-levels of physical security," said Mr Petterson about the former US base.

"We don't have hurricanes here, and we don't have problems with power shortages as do our competitors in California and Brazil ... (So) it offers our clients very high levels of data security," he added.

Five clients have already signed up with Altec.

See also:

31 Dec 99 | Americas
US relinquishes Panama Canal
10 Dec 99 | Americas
New era for Panama
27 Jul 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Panama
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