JV aims to ‘democratize’ network interconnection, establish carrier-neutral IXP facilities in unserved markets—including the 14 states that lack them
Fort Lauderdale, Florida (January 30, 2023) – At the Metro Connect 2023 event in South Florida today, national nonprofit Connected Nation (CN) announced that it has formed a 50/50 joint venture (JV) with network interconnection pioneer Hunter Newby to pursue the construction and operations of at least 125 new carrier-neutral Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) in regional hub communities throughout the United States. These facilities will improve internet performance in the regions they serve by reducing network latency, improving access to cloud applications and content, and enabling better network resiliency through the creation of new network paths into and out of each region.
Each facility will also serve as a competitive marketplace for wholesale internet (IP transit) and backhaul (transport), resulting in lower prices for both network operators and end-users. Ultimately, the JV will ensure that smaller cities and rural areas have the same opportunities to benefit from the continued evolution of the internet ecosystem as their metro counterparts—an aspect of the “Digital Divide” that is currently widening, not closing.
The JV, called “Connected Nation Internet Exchange Points LLC” (CNIXP), is a Delaware limited liability company.
For more than 20 years, Connected Nation has been committed to the premise that every community, regardless of location, should have robust, affordable, reliable connectivity,” said Tom Ferree, Chairman & CEO, CN. “Over the next several years, states will work in collaboration with the federal government to spend $42.45 billion on improved internet infrastructure under the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Grant Program. One factor confronting the efficacy of that program will be that many areas still lack a neutral venue for networks to interconnect and exchange traffic locally—a fact that results in high prices and sluggish internet performance. Our JV aims to address that problem. No community deserves a second-class internet experience.”
IXPs provide a physical home where networks can “meet” and exchange traffic. Local ISPs, streaming services, social networks, financial institutions, mobile network operators, cloud service providers, transport providers, and Tier-1 carriers are just a sampling of network operators that have a physical presence in IXPs across the globe to exchange traffic more efficiently. IXPs shorten the distance that some data traffic needs to travel to reach its destination, reducing latency and keeping local traffic local when possible, making the internet operate more efficiently and reliably.
When a region lacks an IXP, local providers must pay to backhaul traffic to the nearest IXP, which may be hundreds of miles away, to exchange it with other networks. This is highly inefficient and makes accessing cloud services and content (like streaming services) seem slow and less responsive. Local broadband providers also pay higher rates than they should for wholesale internet access, or IP transit. These costs are passed along to end users, including schools, hospitals, small businesses, and even residential subscribers. IXPs serve as a local marketplace where wholesale providers compete for local business, resulting in as much as a 90% reduction in costs.
Unfortunately, 14 states have no carrier-neutral IXP facilities at all, putting them at a significant disadvantage. CN has identified 125 hub communities in 43 states and 4 U.S. territories where IXPs are needed, focusing on collaboration with public and private research universities to establish IXPs on their campuses.
In September, CNIXP applied for its first federal grant under the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) “Enabling Middle-Mile Broadband Infrastructure” Grant Program to build five new IXP facilities in the following locations: Wichita, Kansas; Lexington, Kentucky; Starkville, Mississippi; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Stillwater, Oklahoma. NTIA is expected to begin making award announcements under this program beginning in March. Law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP advised CNIXP on its application.
The full list of CNIXP’s 125 target communities can be found here.
“If your community isn’t on our list, reach out to us,” said Brent Legg, Executive Vice President, CN. “We love working with local leaders who understand how important robust connectivity is to the economic and social vitality of their communities – leaders who want to be proactive in making the internet work better for everyone.”
To learn more about how IXPs work, watch this video.
To contact the CNIXP team, utilize the contact form located on this page.
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About Connected Nation (CN): Nonprofit Connected Nation’s mission is to improve lives by providing innovative solutions that expand access to, and the use of, broadband and related technologies for people everywhere. For more information, please visit: www.connectednation.hatfield.marketing and follow CN on Facebook and Twitter.
About Newby Ventures: Newby Ventures, LLC is a personal holding company for interests held in a variety of carrier-neutral colocation and interconnection facilities. Hunter Newby is its founder, chairman, and CEO. Mr. Newby has over 20 years of ownership and management experience in the network interconnection industry. He is both an active and former owner, co-founder, partner or board member in numerous carrier-neutral colocation and interconnection businesses including: ColoATL, DataVerge, Fibre Centre, Netrality Properties, NJFX and The Telx Group, Inc. For more information, please visit www.newby-ventures.com and follow Mr. Newby on LinkedIn.
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