February saw the launch of IXLeeds, a neutral not-for-profit Internet Exchange Point (IXP) based in Leeds. Its main objectives are to allow Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the north of the UK to provide faster, cheaper broadband, and make Yorkshire less dependent upon London.
In order for Internet services to become faster and more competitive, there is a need for all ISPs to exchange traffic with social networks and streaming media (such as on-demand and Internet TV). On top of this, as mobile download speeds get faster, the need to handle this data regionally becomes even more important. Regional internet exchanges such as IXLeeds are key to making this happen.
IXLeeds will be the first exchange of its kind in Yorkshire. The official launch event is a key turning point in its development, which grew out of a working group set up back in 2008 to promote collaboration between operators in Yorkshire. The exchange is not just a place for ISPs to exchange traffic, but is also dedicated to bringing global Internet expertise to the region, benefiting existing initiatives, such as the rollout of ‘superfast broadband’ and metropolitan Internet services.
The bottom line: According to a leading industry report, “80 new jobs are created for every 1000 new broadband connections.”
Communications Minister, Ed Vaizey said “We must ensure the UK has the digital infrastructure necessary to drive sustainable growth. Projects like IXLeeds will provide cities and regions with better Internet services, which they can use to develop new products, reach new markets and create new jobs.”
Andy Davidson, Board Chair, says; “Welcome to Booming Yorkshire – the second largest region in the UK by GDP. IXLeeds allows all ISPs in Yorkshire to develop their connectivity strategy and to reduce reliance on London, enabling internet traffic to take a more direct route between ISPs in the north. This will improve the efficiency of the Internet, resulting in a better service for the end user.”