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Neutral internet sites account for 70% of leading 50 US exchanges

Study reveals steady transformation over the past decade in the way networks choose to interconnect with neutral IX models operated by a neutral third party rather than by datacentre operator or carrier

US network operators’ top priority is now datacentre neutrality, with neutral internet exchanges (IXs) now accounting for 70% of the largest IXs in the US, according to a study by leading IX operator DE-CIX.

The study, The shifting interconnection landscape in the US, has revealed a steady transformation over the past decade in the way networks choose to interconnect in the US, with neutral IX models, operated by a neutral third party rather than a datacentre operator or carrier, now being the preference for a majority of network operators.

DE-CIX said such neutral IXs have boomed in the past 10 years, growing six-fold and fundamentally changing the way the internet is routed in and across North American cities. 

On a US national basis, the findings showed that New York stands out as the leading interconnection hub in the country, sporting close to 40% more aggregated network connections than Seattle, in second place, or Los Angeles, in third.

While all cities investigated in the study displayed strong growth in networks connecting redundantly to multiple IXs, New York was found to have up to 50% more redundantly connected networks than other cities.

New York was also the only city in the US to be home to four large-scale IXs, two of which are neutral IXs distributed across multiple datacentres

With 40% more aggregated network connections, New York’s strong interconnection ecosystem can be seen in contrast to that of Seattle, which sports one large neutral IX but no significant complementary offering in the market, and Los Angeles, where the datacentre-operated model currently remains dominant.

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The DE-CIX study, which highlights the adoption of the neutral interconnection model in the US and its impact on the interconnection and datacentre markets at national and city level, will be published in full later this year.

“Our latest study shows clearly the strength of the distributed datacentre and carrier-neutral internet exchange model and its huge positive impact on the New York market and beyond – for the entire US,” said DE-CIX CEO Ivo Ivanov.

“The distributed and neutral IX model offers networks flexibility, redundancy and high-performance interconnection, while it offers datacentre operators access to vibrant and diverse interconnection ecosystems, with benefits that they can pass on to their customers.

“With our entry into the New York market 10 years ago, the importance of a complementary offering on the New York market to attract more networks and enable mutual growth became abundantly clear,” he said. “The facts prove that it’s all about community, consisting of network operators, datacentres and IXs. The unique community in this great city will continue to grow and develop together for the digital future.”

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