data center

Bluebird Networks is bringing internet exchanges to its midwest roots, adding capability to its smaller market footprint and helping to avoid more congested larger markets. The company said it is now operating internet exchanges in two of its data centers.

The exchanges are in Bettendorf, Iowa – one of the Quad Cities – and in Springfield, Missouri. In an email to Telecompetitor, a Bluebird spokesperson said both exchanges have about 30 internet providers signed on to exchange traffic, and 10 more providers are in the process of connecting to the Bettendorf exchange.

According to the spokesperson, the internet providers that have signed on include major internet backbone providers.

Bluebird Networks was created in 2011 when Missouri Network Alliance, a statewide network that had been owned and operated by a group of smaller rural telcos in the state since 1999, merged with Bluebird Media, operator of a middle mile network serving parts of Missouri and three neighboring states.

In 2019, investment company Macquarie Infrastructure Partners bought Bluebird Networks.

The Bluebird Internet Exchanges

It’s logical to think that just as data centers are becoming more decentralized to provide lower latency, the same trend is likely taking shape in the internet exchange market.

“As bandwidth needs increase, networks experience strain,” the Bluebird spokesperson wrote in the email to Telecompetitor. “One solution is to move caching sites closer to the edge. Another solution is to participate in the local exchange of traffic by way of an internet exchange. This allows a handoff of network traffic, avoids highly congested chokepoints, saves money by limiting the usage of your own network’s bandwidth, and essentially extends your network by way of sharing eyeballs and content with the other internet exchange peers.”

Bluebird Network Map (Source: Bluebird website)

A press release about the Bluebird Networks internet exchanges notes that both exchanges are carrier-neutral, allowing any entity with an autonomous system number to exchange traffic there. That means that content providers, as well as internet providers, can exchange traffic, which likely accounts for the difference between the 30 internet providers the spokesperson referenced for the Bettendorf exchange and the 47 peers referenced for that exchange in the press release.

The Bluebird exchange in Springfield is the only internet exchange in the community and is connected to the Kansas City Internet Exchange, which has 121 active peers, according to Bluebird. 

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