Connected Nation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding access to broadband and related technologies, has announced that it is joining forces with Newby Ventures LLC, a personal holding company. The two organizations have formed a joint venture called CNIXP (Connected Nation Internet Exchange Points) to build and operate Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) in over 125 regional hub communities across the United States.
“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,” stated Tom Ferree, the chairman and CEO at Connected Nation.
An IXP is physical infrastructure (switches, routers, fiber optic interconnects and such) that facilitates high-speed communication between different networks, enabling carriers to exchange traffic with one another without having to pay transit fees. This can decrease latency, improve performance, increase users’ scalability and cost savings for carriers.
The joint venture will create facilities in smaller cities and rural areas to provide lower prices for IP transit, backhaul and transport services. This technology will help bridge the “digital divide” and ensure more equitable access to the evolving internet ecosystem.
“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,” continued Ferree. “Our JV aims to address that problem. No community deserves a second-class internet experience.”
CNIXP plans to work closely with local stakeholders in the target communities to identify areas where IXPs are needed and establish them on their campuses. It will also seek out public and private research university partners who can develop collaborative approaches to formalize partnerships and reduce the cost of IXPs.
Fourteen states currently have no carrier-neutral IXP facilities. Connected Nation has identified a need for carrier-neutral IXP facilities in 125 hub communities across 43 states and 4 US territories. It is actively working to establish them at public and private research universities.
CNIXP applied for its first federal grant from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) in September to build five new IXP facilities in Wichita, Kansas; Lexington, Kentucky; Starkville, Mississippi; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Stillwater, Oklahoma. Connected Nation plans to make award announcements under this program in March 2023.
“If your community isn’t on our list, reach out to us,” said Brent Legg, the executive vice president of Connected Nation. “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.”
Last fall, Connected Nation announced the commencement of its digital literacy and learning program in partnership with AT&T. To help bridge the digital divide, virtual and on-site digital literacy training programs target underserved communities across America.
Network connectivity outside of major metropolitan areas is an issue that is not widely addressed. Cloud and edge computing both require deeper connectivity into areas such as those targeted by CNIXP. There are a number of such IXPs providing neutral network interconnection (meaning it connects traffic to multiple network service providers (NSP) at a facility not managed by the NSP), but as many are community-run non-profit organizations, expansion occurs slowly on a piecemeal basis.
CNIXP, with the backing of data center industry veteran Hunter Newby (a pioneer of the network-neutral connectivity model) can accelerate the benefits of cloud computing and network services to regions that would otherwise go unserved.
Connected Nation | datacenter | interconnection | internet exchange | IXP | networking | Newby Ventures