As seen in the February 13, 2023, INCOMPAS e-newsletter.
Q: Please tell us about your company.
DC BLOX was established in 2014 to provide data centers to markets with a distinct, but unfulfilled, need for them. In 2017, the board of directors selected Jeff Uphues to lead the company in its expansion, placing these data centers in underserved yet growing markets throughout the Southeastern United States. Fulfilling this vision has required a focus on a few core fundamentals. DC BLOX focuses on building Tier 3 data centers, connecting them with a high-speed optical network, and hosting cloud services to enable area businesses to effectively serve their local customers, efficiently scale their infrastructure and ensure business continuity.
In 2020, DC BLOX was ranked among Atlanta’s 100 fastest-growing private companies and went on to rank again in 2021. DC BLOX also won the 2021 PCI Building Design Award for Best Data Center and the DataCloud Global Award 2021 for Excellence in Data Centre Americas. In 2022, DC BLOX won the ChannelVision Magazine Visionary Spotlight Award in the Emerging Markets Deployment category, which recognizes efforts in providing physical and network infrastructure to underserved markets in the Southeast.
In 2022, DC BLOX acquired Network Assets from Light Source Communications and Ascendant Capital Fiber. As part of this dark fiber transaction, Light Source’s Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Debra Freitas, and Co-Founder, President and COO Pete Empie, joined the DC BLOX team. This dark fiber acquisition spurred the development of a new division of business for DC BLOX called DC BLOX Fiber.
DC BLOX currently has data centers located in Atlanta; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Huntsville and Birmingham, Ala.; Greenville, S.C.; High Point, N.C., which is in the planning stages; and Myrtle Beach, which is currently under construction. In addition, DC BLOX now offers dark fiber solutions and custom-network construction services to enable the most scalable, high-capacity network solutions to meet specific customer network needs. At DC BLOX, we consider it a privilege to serve as partners to growing communities, universities, enterprises, managed service providers and content providers, and we look forward to developing personal, as well as economically prosperous, relationships.
Q: Please tell us about company’s top executives and the work that they are doing in our industry
Jeff Uphues, CEO, DC BLOX
Jeff leads DC BLOX, where he is responsible for setting and leading the company’s strategy, vision and execution in designing, building and operating a fabric of interconnected, highly secure, Tier 3-rated data centers across the Southeast. Jeff is a 30-year veteran in the information technology industry, is a tireless tech-savvy executive and business strategist having held C-suite leadership roles for Liquid Web, Cbeyond, Bandwidth, ACSI Network Technologies, MCI and WilTel. Jeff serves as an active board member in several technology firms.
Debra Freitas, Chief Commercial Officer, DC BLOX Fiber Business
Debra is responsible for driving network route planning, pricing and packaging, marketing, and customer and government relations for the company’s dark fiber projects. Debra joined DC BLOX as part of the company’s acquisition of the Southeastern fiber assets from Light Source Communications and Ascendant Capital Fiber. Previously, Debra co-founded Light Source Communications, serving as the company’s CEO, and held a leadership position at Merit Networks. She has led the operations and management of over 2,300 miles of high-speed fiber networks to address the needs of hyperscalers, OTT providers, enterprises, and both medium and large-size businesses that want to own their dark fiber networks.
Pete Empie, Chief Operating Officer, DC BLOX Fiber Business
Pete Empie is responsible for the design, construction and operations of the company’s dark fiber routes. He joined DC BLOX as part of the company’s acquisition of the Southeastern fiber assets from Light Source Communications and Ascendant Capital Fiber. Pete has more than 35 years of telecom experience in building, selling and maintaining dark fiber assets. He was co-founder and COO of Light Source Communications and Waypoint Telecom, founder and owner of Fiber Network Consultants, held a leadership position at Brooks Fiber, and is a U.S. Army veteran. Pete has managed the construction and operations of over 2,300 route miles across the Northern U.S., two fiber rings in Lansing and Grand Rapids, Mich., and several key fiber routes anchored by hyperscale customers.
Other members of the senior leadership team include:
- Mark Masi, EVP of Development, Engineering, & Construction
- Chris Gatch, EVP of Corporate Development
- Kevin O’Donnell, CFO
- Kurt Stoever, COO
- Jeff Wabik, CTO
- David Armistead, SVP of Sales
- John Dumler, VP of Data Center Design & Engineering
- Melih Ileri, SVP of Capital Markets & Strategy
Q: Where do you provide services?
As enterprises and hyperscalers move closer to the edge and into secondary markets in the southeast, DC BLOX Fiber offers a unique alternative. DC BLOX builds exactly where you need to be in the Southeastern United States for subsea access, cloud performance and key peering points at the edge and at hyper scale capacities.
DC BLOX data centers are currently located in:
- Chattanooga, Tenn.
- Huntsville, Ala.
- Birmingham, Ala.
- Greenville, S.C.
- Myrtle Beach, S.C. – Under construction
- High Point, N.C. - Planning stages
Q: What types of products and/or services do you offer your customers?
DC BLOX is a data center and network services provider in the Southeast delivering the infrastructure and connectivity essential to power today’s digital business. Businesses located in growing cities in the Southeastern U.S. have the same need for modern digital infrastructure as those in major cities, but have had to settle for second-rate data centers, limited network reach or lack of local high-capacity fiber, until now.
DC BLOX builds and operates Tier 3 data centers, connects them with a high-speed regional network, and offers dark fiber solutions to enable the most challenging digital transformation goals.
The Top 6 Reasons Why Businesses in Every Industry Come to DC BLOX
- Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery
- Connectivity for Distributed IT
- Hybrid Cloud
- Dark Fiber
- Data Storage and Management
Watch the DC BLOX Overview video to learn more.
Q: What is your target customer base?
Our solutions deliver the infrastructure and connectivity essential to power today’s digital business. DC BLOX builds and operates Tier 3 data centers, connects them with a high-speed regional network, and offers dark fiber solutions to enable the most challenging digital transformation goals.
- Educational Institutions
- Financial Institutions
- Manufacturing Facilities
Q: What are the biggest challenges that your company faces and how is your company overcoming these challenges?
Digital transformation, driven by rapid advances in technology and customer expectations, is impacting every industry and disrupting many. Businesses need their IT teams to help accelerate growth and avoid competitive threats. But with growing digitization, IT infrastructure is becoming increasingly distributed. However, legacy infrastructure and local communications providers may not be able to meet the bandwidth, latency, location, cost and schedule requirements necessary to help businesses realize their digital goals. CIOs need to shed those constraints and enhance their agility to win in today’s business environment.
DC BLOX offers flexibility by providing data center connectivity services for easy, reliable and cost-effective network integration between all of the components of your IT infrastructure. In addition, DC BLOX dark fiber solutions and custom-network construction services enables the most scalable, high-capacity network solutions to meet specific customer network needs.
Q: What sets you apart from other companies?
Serve Locally, Connect Globally
We are passionate about driving progress in communities where the foundational infrastructure for the digital economy is limited. At DC BLOX we understand that businesses are facing increasing challenges that have a profound impact on their ability to compete and grow in their markets.
We serve local markets by:
- Meeting business’s local and regional data center needs with Tier III rated facilities that provide the security, reliability, cost-efficiency and expertise, allowing them to focus resources strategically.
- Connecting businesses to any destination worldwide through our private network, global ecosystem of communications partners and dark fiber routes. Connectivity to the cloud, to partners and to providers is provisioned quickly leveraging a software-defined network fabric, enabling fast response to business opportunities.
- Empowering the local communities where we do business. That means investing capital for data center and fiber network construction, and offering resources, services and facilities to local organizations, enhancing our communities through training, collaboration and education.
Q: How is the evolving communications marketplace impacting your business model?
The pace of bandwidth demand and network expansion is accelerating faster than ever before – and not just in big metros areas. But while traditional providers are focused on filling existing pipes in the biggest cities, DC BLOX is now building exactly where you need to be in the Southeast for subsea access, cloud performance and key peering points at the edge and at hyperscale capacities.
Put simply, our team builds digital infrastructure, be it new dark fiber, cable landing stations or data centers. Our motivation is also simple: We partner with customers on what they need and build where that need lives. Our design team brings decades of local knowledge and relationships to our construction projects to optimize factors such as rights of way, municipal incentives and real estate terms.
Q: Have you recently entered new markets? Added new services/products?
Dark Fiber Route from Atlanta to Myrtle Beach
DC BLOX is building the first dark fiber route between the new Myrtle Beach cable landing station in South Carolina, connecting through Charleston, Augusta, Atlanta’s major connectivity centers, and landing in Lithia Springs, Ga. Using our knowledge and relationships in the local region, we negotiated key rights-of-way to give high-capacity enterprises and hyperscalers the only direct east-west option in this part of the country.
Myrtle Beach Cable Landing Station
In partnership with global hyperscale partners, DC BLOX is redefining the hyperscale Cable Landing Station (CLS) with its new facility in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, set to open in the second quarter of 2023. The Myrtle Beach CLS will be located in the International Technology & Aerospace Park (ITAP). The DC BLOX Myrtle Beach CLS is strategically located on the South Carolina coast between other cable landing locations in Florida and Virginia Beach, Va., where it offers direct access to the rapidly expanding hyperscale data center footprint in the Southeast. The location provides geographic diversity among existing cable landings on the Eastern seaboard and facilitates regional connectivity to the rapidly growing Atlanta area and to Ashburn, Va. The state-of-the-art, reliable, repeatable design of this facility will support up to five subsea cables. The facility will support flexible power generation configurations including multi-megawatt AC power and managed rectifiers for DC power feed equipment.