Peter Williams, Director of Global Sales, talks to eGaming Review about Continent 8’s recent developments in Gibraltar
Now entering our third year of operating in Gibraltar, Continent 8 Technologies has witnessed unprecedented demand from the gaming industry for hosting and network services. It has seen our unique location in Admiralty Tunnel (formerly the Vault) yet again reaching near capacity, and ready to invest and expand for the third time in as many years. Continent 8’s Gibraltar datacentre is located 500 meters within the rock of Gibraltar and historically was the communications hub for all UK southern hemisphere based security forces. The location was also used to house one of the NATO mainframes, and was one of the most secure and resilient locations with respect to power and connectivity.
Since taking ownership of the facility in December 2011 we have encountered many challenges along the way in our efforts to bring this location to the standard Continent 8 provides globally at its other nine locations. Continent 8 invested several million pounds, which saw the replacement of the entire supporting electrical and cooling infrastructure to make the facility in Admiralty Tunnel a secure, reliable and world-class location to host infrastructure and network. Service uptake in the last two quarters, ending September 2014, witnessed an unprecedented level of growth in this location and we again embarked upon the fitting out of new data halls to meet the requirements of a growing market.
It is comforting also to know that Gibraltar itself is investing to upgrade the power infrastructure following the tragic events on Easter Sunday when power and telecoms was lost to most part of Gibraltar. Although operators hosted at Continent 8 remained live throughout the incident, due to the added redundancy we invested in, risks such as this needs to removed from Gibraltar and trust must exist for operators and businesses in the long term. The decision to upgrade the power infrastructure is welcomed by Continent 8 and will benefit all in the future.
Reaction to the Point of Consumption Tax
With regard to regulation, and despite the concerns regarding the potential impact of the UK regulation specifically, and point of consumption tax, Gibraltar remains an attractive and growing location for the operation of eGaming businesses. With the effective bringing to an end of the so-called ‘white list’ that allowed operators licensed in Alderney, Antigua, the Isle of Man, Malta and Gibraltar to advertise their services in the UK we are seeing steady growth and renewed interest in Gibraltar and Malta with their European Union status.
Continent 8 does not claim to be regulatory experts but what we can draw on is the experience from the decisions we see our clients taking as they affect our own business planning. The one trend that appears to be clear is that gaming operators can address all markets from Gibraltar or Malta without restriction, while still enjoying a preferential financial framework and regulators (that are consistent and effective with their approach to regulation) which provides stability and the ability to plan for the future. In fact, the UK regulation is no different from other regulated European markets in this regard as they do not require infrastructure to be hosted locally. This means that for Continent 8 Gibraltar remains amongst our highest priorities in terms of investment and growth.
A sellers’ market
With supply for hosting falling short of demand we are embarking upon significant expansion yet again to offer more choice in this market. Many operators to this day still host infrastructure in custom-built datacentre environments as an extension to their office locations. Continent 8 has provided choice to the market and will continue to build to meet the existing and growing demand and provide choice for such decisions going forward.
While all the investment in datacentres and local power stations is a positive development in Gibraltar, these elements really need to be considered as a given. What truly differentiates is an effective network, for Continent 8 as a provider but also for the operators who use our network. Continent 8 is uniquely positioned, pure and simple, because we operate a global private redundant network with a team of highly effective network support personnel operating 24/7 in Europe and North America. This type of control is essential in delivering predictable and reliable levels of service, and being in a positon to effectively mitigate distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. Continent 8 operates the only native MPLS service from Gibraltar with network points of presence in London, Paris, Milan, New York, New Jersey and Montreal to name but a few locations. We continue to expand our network reach to meet with customer growth and expansion.
Having spent the initial three years in Gibraltar focusing on bringing our facility to a high standard we now seek to expand our service reach in Gibraltar from not just the gaming community, but to the wider local business sector. We are currently preparing for the announcement of a suite of services to be made available to all Gibraltar-based businesses that will see more choice for local business. We have also appointed Daniel Ghio, formerly a datacentre and network technical support engineer to our local sales team. Daniel will be key in driving the new suite of services to the local business community. Despite global economic and financial turmoil, Gibraltar’s economy remains healthy, solid, stable and robust. All the necessary ingredients exist for a company such as Continent 8 to bring choice and quality of services to support not just eGaming, but all industry verticals with effective and reliable managed hosting and network solutions.
In addition to Gibraltar Continent 8 has multiple centres of excellence around the world, including the Isle of Man, London, Paris, Dublin, Malta, Guernsey, Singapore, New Jersey and Montreal with a globally distributed and privately owned redundant network. We also continue to add further managed services to our suite of offerings including cloud and remote online back-up, disaster recovery and professional services. Continent 8 also partners with key industry leaders to deliver leading technologies to our clients, including DDoS with Arbor and cloud back-up services with Asigra, both industry leaders in their technologies.
Continent 8 will continue to update the local market with developments of services and hosting expansion and remain committed to providing a level of excellence that the customer should expect as ‘business as usual’.
Article appeared in the eGR Gibraltar Report, 2014