Out-of-box thinker Hunter Newby is at it again. His company, Newby Ventures, is 50% of a new joint venture — Connected Nation Internet Exchange Points (CNIXP) — that aims to establish 125 new carrier-neutral internet exchange points (IXPs) in markets that would not traditionally have been targeted as interconnection points.
This could be good news for providers that serve areas that are located long distances from popular exchange points in major metro markets.
The other 50% of the joint venture is Connected Nation, a nonprofit organization that, according to a press release, is focused on expanding “access to, and the use of, broadband and related technologies.”
The CNIXP joint venture is aimed at addressing a need that many stakeholders see – moving interconnection points and cloud resources closer to end users to support applications that increasingly will require low latency.
As Connected Nation notes in today’s press release, 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 access to 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.”
According to Connected Nation, 14 states have no carrier-neutral IXP facilities at all. The 125 markets targeted to receive IXPs are in 43 states and four U.S. territories.
The JV will focus on collaboration with public and private research universities to establish IXPs on their campuses, the release notes. Numerous college towns are on the target list. To name just a few: New Haven, Connecticut; Gainesville, Florida; Kalamazoo, Michigan; Columbia, Missouri; Oxford, Mississippi; Charlottesville, Virginia; Burlington, Vermont and Madison, Wisconsin.
Connected Nation has been closely focused on internet connectivity for educational institutions over the years and could be well positioned to help in establishing relationships with communities such as those.
Middle Mile Funding
The Connected Internet Exchange Points JV has applied for funding through the NTIA “Enabling Middle-Mile Broadband Infrastructure Grant Program” to build IXPs in Wichita, Kansas; Lexington, Kentucky; Starkville, Mississippi; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Stillwater, Oklahoma.
That program has a budget of $1 billion to cover some of the costs of building middle mile networks, defined as those that “do not connect directly to an end user location and include leased dark fiber, interoffice transport, backhaul, carrier-neutral internet exchange facilities, carrier-neutral submarine cable landing stations, undersea cables, transport connectivity to data centers, special access transport, and similar services.”
Competition for funding will be tough, as NTIA received applications requesting a total of $5.5 billion in the program.
Newby’s last big venture was Allied Fiber, a company founded over a decade ago that aimed to build a nationwide fiber network that would be within reach of many rural networks. Perhaps the plan was too ambitious, as construction never got beyond the first of several phases that were planned.
Nevertheless, Newby had some great ideas, including constructing along railroad rights-of-way and giving local network operators the ability to connect to the network near their own communities by offering interconnection points at fiber regeneration sites.
CNIXP said it is interested in hearing from communities that would like to have IXPs but are not on the target list.