Myanmar blocks access to Facebook amidst military coup

Myanmar’s state-run internet service provider, MPT, has temporarily blocked access to Facebook.

This comes after the arrest of Myanmar’s long time democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint on February 1 as part of a coup by the country’s military forces.

The Ministry of Communications and Information claimed that the decision to block access to Facebook was for the sake of “stability”, and full access will be restored on February 7.

The Ministry also claimed that the move was made in response to the spread of “fake news” among Facebook users in Myanmar.

Facebook’s statement on Myanmar addressed the severity of the situation.

“We urge authorities to restore connectivity so that people in Myanmar can communicate with their families and friends and access important information,” the statement read.

With over 20 million users, Facebook is one of the most widely used social media platforms in Myanmar.

Mainstream social media platforms, including WhatsApp and Instagram, have also been banned.

Former Equinix and Facebook staff at Digital Edge partner with Stonepeak to commit $1bn for a new diversified data center platform in Asia Pacific

Digital Edge and Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners have committed US$1 billion to form a new diversified, independent data center platform.

Digital Edge is a group of seasoned senior executives formerly with Equinix, Facebook, Tata Communications and Macquarie who will focus on acquiring and developing carrier-neutral data centers across Asia Pacific.

“We are very excited to partner with Stonepeak and to have completed the initial capacity acquisitions to fulfill our vision of bridging the digital divide in the Asia-Pacific region,” said Samuel Lee, the CEO of Digital Edge who previously served as President of Equinix’s Asia Pacific business from 2005 to 2019.

Headquartered in Singapore, Digital Edge announced the closing of two initial investments in Japan-based data centers, a key market for the new data center company.

“The transactions in Tokyo and Osaka give the platform a dual footprint offering to customers in Japan’s two primary data center markets,” added Mr. Lee.

The potentially disruptive data center company aims to deliver innovative data center and interconnect solutions in order to make customer deployments easy in complex, evolving environments.

Digital Edge will develop a 12 MW facility in central Osaka in partnership with Keihanshin Building Co. and Kanden Energy Solution Co., Inc. The data center in Tokyo is a strategic partnership with ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation, which will begin with their Mejirozaka Data Center.

“The Asia Pacific digital infrastructure market is among the fastest growing in the world, with demand continuing to outpace supply,” said Brian McMullen, the Senior Managing Director at Stonepeak, an infrastructure-focused private equity firm.

Stonepeak is the majority owner of Cologix, a leading carrier-neutral data center platform in North America, which recently announced the acquisition of vXchnge’s 16,000 square foot data center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

Stonepeak has also established a presence in Asia Pacific over the past three years with investments across multiple sectors, including this one with Digital Edge.

“We are delighted to partner with Samuel and his team, who bring unparalleled experience and an exceptional track record of development, and are investing in Digital Edge to help us achieve our shared vision for the region,” added Mr. McMullen.

Samuel Lee is also joined at Digital Edge by a long list of senior executives and key data center players, including his prior senior team at Equinix:

  • Kei Furuta, former Managing Director for North Asia at Equinix
  • Andrew Rigoli, former VP of Corporate Development and Strategy and Interim General Manager for Singapore and Southeast Asia at Equinix
  • Jonathan Chou, former VP of Corporate Development for Asia Pacific at Equinix
  • Jay Park, former vice president of data center design engineering at Facebook 
  • John Freeman, former Chief Legal and Compliance Officer at Tata Communications
  • Jonathan Walbridge, former Managing Director of Macquarie

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Image credit: Digital Edge

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NTU Singapore and Facebook join forces to develop data center talent

Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Facebook are set to join forces to develop local data center talent with new certificate programmes and a major data investment hub.

Five courses are on offer to train and upskill local engineering talent to meet increasing demand for specialists in the data center industry.

Professor Ling San, NTU Deputy President and Provost, said: “We are very proud to contribute towards growing local talent in the data center sector through our collaboration with Facebook.”

The nine-month pilot programme will offer four specialist certificates in design engineering, network engineering, site operations and facility operations as well as one graduate certificate in international construction management.

Professor Ling San added: “With NTU’s deep expertise in emerging technologies and Facebook’s data center expertise, participants of our new certificate programmes will be able to benefit from a world-class education and stand in good stead in the future job market.”

The programme will be open to the public with funding and mid-career subsidy options provided by SkillsFuture Singapore.

NTU graduates could be part of Facebook’s data center future in Singapore

Facebook is expected to complete the construction of their huge 11 storey, 170,000 square-meter Singapore data center worth more than US$1 billion in 2022.

One of Singapore’s leading data center facilities management providers and collaborator with Facebook, CBRE Data Centre Solutions, will offer data center training and career advice for students on NTU’s new programme.

Gavin Chua, Facebook’s Head of Infrastructure Engagement in Asia, said: “When we decided to build a data center in Singapore, local talent was an important consideration for us.”

Students will learn how to build and operate efficient data centers in Singapore.

“Singapore is a global hub for data centers services, and we are pleased to help develop local talent in this increasingly critical industry,” celebrated Andy Hobbs, CBRE APAC’s Executive Director of Data Centre Solutions.

NTU engineering graduates will have the opportunity to take up these programmes to help them pivot their career into a growing industry.

NTU Vice President of Alumni and International Affairs, Professor Jimmy Hsia, said: “NTU has an alumni population of more than 247,000 graduates employed in various fields. Through the new certificate programmes … we are confident in helping equip our alumni with the industry-relevant skills necessary for their continued success in this evolving economy.”

Future courses could involve more data center players

Following the nine-month programme starting this August, the pilot by the Centre for Professional and Continuing Education (PaCE@NTU) will look to introduce more courses that could involve other data center players.

Associate Professor Shirley Lim, Executive Director of PaCE@NTU, said: “This will support the country’s drive towards becoming a smart nation as it strengthens its role in data storage and related fields like data protection, intellectual property and data security.”

NTU will consult with the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and industry stakeholders to make sure the programmes meet the specific needs of business owners and working professionals in the sector.

“IMDA would like to thank NTU Singapore and Facebook for this partnership to train and groom more local talent for the data center segment of our ICT sector,” said Kiren Kumar, Assistant Chief Executive of Digital Industry and Talent Group at the IMDA.

Under the TechSkills Accelerator initiative by the IMDA, Singaporeans are able to build their industry-relevant skills with confidence and contribute to the digital economy through strong partnerships between industry leaders and academic institutions like Facebook and NTU.

Photo credit: Facebook