Construction and Technology

123Net braces for continued growth

Demand from Detroit automotive OEM, Grand Rapids market spur connectivity.

January 5, 2018
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123Net recently reported a successful year of growth and innovation for 2017.

The Byron Center-based business telecommunication service provider attributed much of its success to its relationship with the Detroit automotive industry. The company said its first customer to consume over 1 megawatt of power and deploy a terabit-speed connection is one of the largest automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEM) in Detroit. 123Net President and CEO Dan Irvin did not disclose the company’s name.

“The volume of data used by cars today is incredible, and we are only starting to scratch the surface,” Irvin said. “Mobility is the future of the automotive industry, and there has been a tremendous demand for bandwidth and data centers here in Detroit to support it. We are excited to provide network and data center space that is facilitating this evolution.”

Irvin also noted the increase in demand for data from businesses in health care, engineering, graphic design, software development and finance.

“We’ve seen a lot of customers lately in those sectors … a lot of the local banks, credit unions or banks that have multiple branches Michigan-wide,” Irvin said. “123 Net is in a unique position to serve them because we have such a dense network.”

Another factor of 123Net’s success is hosting Michigan’s only carrier-neutral internet exchange, the Detroit Internet Exchange (DET-IX).

“Carrier-neutral means we don’t discriminate against other internet providers from coming in and serving their clients,” Irvin said. “Anyone can bring connectivity in this building. In fact, we encourage other carriers to come in and serve their customers at our data center.”

123Net hosts the DET-IX in its data centers, allowing global entities to peer locally into Detroit. The company says the DET-IX is among the top 40 exchanges in traffic worldwide, and with the automotive industry’s emphasis on the future of mobility, DET-IX will climb that list.

In 2018, DET-IX will implement hardware, donated by Californian-based cloud computing company Arista Networks, that will allow DET-IX to scale the mobility movement by giving users the ability to add 100-gigabit ports and increase the DET-IX’s capacity to nearly 40 terabits per second.

123Net also increased its fiber network this past year. The company built over 150 route miles of dark fiber, or unlit fiber, across metro Detroit and Grand Rapids in 2017. Irvin expects a continuous demand for fiber build-outs, saying the company received multiple orders every month. His current projection, based on demand, is at least another 25 miles of fiber in Grand Rapids in 2018.

“The demand is so great in Grand Rapids that we had to invest in buying a construction team and keeping them local,” Irvin said.

In 2018, more wireless Point of Presence (PoP) sites also will be added to extend 123Net’s reach, while the existing wireless PoPs will be upgraded to make the network even more reliable.  

In 2017, thousands of seats were added to 123Net’s hosted Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone service. 123Net is dedicated to continuing its offering of traditional, VoIP and hosted voice services in 2018.

“(VoIP) allows you to manage all your business phone needs from kind of a web portal,” Irvin explained. “You can route your desk phone to your cell phone. You can add and remove new desk phones and assign them to people.”

The company also increased its physical presence in Grand Rapids by adding an additional 4,000 square feet to its data center, which Irvin said is “slowly filling up.” 123Net plans to break ground on another 20,000-square-foot Grand Rapids data center in 2018.

123Net credited its success to its employees, who Irvin describes as the company’s “most valued asset.” The company now employs 115 Michigan-based professionals, up from only 20 members four years ago. With the growing demand for mobility and internet-based services, 123Net anticipates growing another 25-30 percent in 2018 and beyond.

“To keep up with that growth, we’re going to continue to hire at around that percent, as well,” Irvin said. “The Grand Rapids market has been exciting for us. It’s by far our biggest market outside of metro Detroit. It’s an area we’re extremely focused on.”

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