Home News Local news UVI Technology Park Brings in Baltimore Firm to Run Data Center

UVI Technology Park Brings in Baltimore Firm to Run Data Center

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Feb. 8, 2008 — The University of the Virgin Islands' Research and Technology Park (RTPark) has hired Baltimore Technology Park (BTP) to run its satellite collocation data center inside the Global Crossing fiber hub on St. Croix.
BTP and RTPark drafted a strategic alliance agreement Jan. 18 and the RTPark board of directors ratified the agreement, subject to several conditions, Feb. 1.
BTP will establish a local affiliate company to manage the RTPark operation at Global Crossing, according to a statement issued by RTPark. The BTP affiliate is to invest more than $3 million to fund infrastructure for the business center and pay a fee of 15 percent of its revenues to the RTPark. BTP is to establish and license a local affiliate and apply for RTPark "protected cell" tax breaks.
When the RTPark was chartered, a subsidiary, RTPark-PC, was created to control tax and other incentives for businesses at the RTPark. These tax breaks are under the authority of the V.I. Economic Development Commission. David Nissman, former U.S. attorney for the Virgin Islands, developed a due-diligence process for use by RTPark and RTPark-PC in reviewing applications for protected cells, according to RTPark's statement. BTP's affiliate will be subject to this due diligence in the RTPark-PC's review of its application for a protected cell.
To qualify as a protected cell, a business must be a tenant of RTPark and also be an "electronic-commerce business," an "e-commerce business" or a "knowledge-based business," as defined in legislation. By applying for a protected cell, BTP's affiliate will become the first applicant for economic-development incentives in the RTPark-PC.
BTP currently operates Maryland's largest carrier-neutral collocation facility, the largest data-infrastructure business of its kind in the state, according to a statement from the RTPark. The 30,000-square-foot data facility in Baltimore provides engineering design, technical expertise and a secure data environment. BTP protects IT systems from natural disasters, sabotage, spying and unpredictable service from utility and bandwidth providers. BTP says it provides the highest level of security and redundancy for businesses of all types and sizes that require reliable data-center services. More information can be found at baltimoretechnologypark.com.
The RTPark is an economic-development initiative begun by the university that officials hope will ultimately provide jobs and tax revenue. The main RTPark is to be in a 20,000-square-foot facility on the St. Croix campus of the University of the Virgin Islands. Plans for that facility were begun in November by the Minneapolis-based architecture firm Architectural Alliance, and are scheduled to be complete by late May.
Because the RTPark is to be built at UVI, the park itself will be able to handle most e-commerce businesses, but not ones that really use gigantic amounts of very fast bandwidth. The satellite at Global Crossing was created to take advantage of extremely broad bandwidth available only there. One of two major data-trunk cables landing on St. Croix, the Global Crossing cable carries the bulk of all communications in and out of the Virgin Islands.
Large portions of Latin American telecommunications flow through that cable, and a portion of it — eight conduits — come ashore north of Frederiksted. Global Crossing's beachhead on St. Croix links the territory to its ring circling South America and, in essence, to the whole world. According to Global Crossing, 70 percent of Latin American overseas phone traffic flies over that cable. The currently available capacity from Global Crossing is equivalent to 51,200 T1 lines. Medium-sized businesses often get a single T1 line to handle all their Internet use.
To date, more than $6 million has been appropriated by the Legislature for developing the project. The Public Finance Authority has also set aside another $7 million for construction, which it will not begin to disburse until all the designs, plans and permits are in place.
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