Transforming the Digital Economy at the Edge

Carrier-neutral edge colocation data centers keep data at the edge, where it is produced and used. This interconnection creates network ecosystem aggregation opportunities...

to bring the milkshake closer. Some digital content providers are doing just that, and in doing so, they are enabling local carriers to invest in their networks—gaining access to Internet exchange points, through local peering. This exchange of data from one network to another provides a valuable solution for anyone in the IX ecosystem. It is revamping the centralized model for the Internet, enabling it to work optimally despite heavy traffic by allowing network carriers, operators, and ISPs to exchange data quickly and frequently. Much like Netflix was a disruptor to the video rental market, these innovative digital content providers are disrupting the interconnection community and industries.

Leveling the playing field

Not long ago, only a handful of carrier hotels existed, but for the most part, enterprises were building their own in-house data centers at headquarters or on a company’s campus. Multi-tenant data storage facilities were mostly confined to the basements of telecom providers. As content providers began to see the benefits of carrier-neutral data centers, these facilities—also known as network-neutral data centers or carrier hotels—gained momentum.

Carrier-neutral data centers operate independently of any providers and allow interconnection between many colocation and interconnection providers. The ability to connect with multiple carriers enables redundancy, optimal uptime, and cost efficiency. Because of these benefits, it wasn’t long before at least one carrier hotel could be found in every major city across the country. While this was excellent for Tier 1 markets, Tier 2 and Tier 3 markets were at a disadvantage. 

Enter distributed edge colocation data center points. Carrier-neutral edge colocation data centers keep data at the edge, where it is produced and used. This interconnection creates network ecosystem aggregation opportunities between carriers, content, and applications. Moreover, interconnection improves data delivery and allows adjacent, rural, developing, and underserved markets to leverage Tier 1 market advantages.

It’s all about placement

When networks exchange their data with one another locally, the data does not need to take long routes to the next point where, by chance, both networks—or the transit providers of the respective networks—are located in the same data center and have a direct fiber-optic interconnection. In this way, the participants save on transit costs, can use one single connection to peer with hundreds of networks rather than needing hundreds of single connections, and the data packets reach their destination much more quickly.

IXPs like Bridge IX that enable content delivery networks, Internet service providers, enterprises, and hyperscale cloud providers to interconnect or “peer” directly with each other offer direct access to the networks they need with improved network performance, increased resiliency, and reduced connectivity costs. In addition, they extend the network presence of all involved, allowing direct connections into underserved or untapped markets.

Today, local networks are strained to deliver low latency connectivity in smaller markets, as they rely on backhaul connections to core content. Most organizations are aware that the cloud enables digital transformation through benefits like efficiency, scalability, cost-effectiveness, and agility, but it’s less well-known that partnering with a cloud service provider could expedite their journey toward digital transformation.

Enabling customers to peer locally means they can directly connect to each other, as well as carriers and content providers, instead of relying on third-party networks to carry traffic across the Internet, which is an expensive process that puts smaller carriers and markets at a disadvantage. There’s no question that growth at the edge offers tremendous opportunity for end users and providers alike. Digital transformation at the network’s community level significantly reduces transit costs for telecom carriers, which boosts competition and drives down the cost of broadband.

The coming years will bring an even greater demand for a more connected and intelligent digital infrastructure. To achieve this, content delivery networks, cloud providers, and network service operators need to invest today in tomorrow’s distributed digital infrastructure. Doing so will facilitate more services in more locations while building a better digital future and bridging the digital divide.


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