Yorkshire Vision article “The city at the heart of the internet”, May 2014

The streets of Leeds may not have fans and paparazzi but a surprisingly high profile international event took place in the city recently. It was the 24th annual EuroIX Forum, a meeting of the brilliant minds who make sure that the Internet actually works.

The international event was held at aql’s Salem Chapel event space and was attended by over 120 of Europe’s most influential internet influencers. EuroIX is an association which acts as a forum for Internet exchange operators throughout Europe and beyond.

For those not familiar with Internet exchanges, they are the physical technical hubs through which internet service providers (ISPs) exchange internet traffic between their networks and where traffic flows in order to access movies, TV and social networks.

In brief, they are a core component of the delivery of Internet content to the end user.

EuroIX was setup to promote an open interchange of ideas and experiences between IXPs, working together for the advancement of all things internet.

The event space in aql’s restored 18th century chapel was an especially poignant location for the event with the old galleried seating area overlooking a glass floor into one of their flagship data facilities – a data centre that houses the region’s internet exchange IXLeeds.

IXLeeds is the only exchange of its kind outside London and is responsible for bringing together the major telecommunications operators in the region, who interconnect and share traffic (known as “peering”).

It’s a not-for-profit entity which exists for the good of the internet and its presence has increased the data capability of Leeds and the surrounding region, as well as making it internet-independent of the rest of the country.

CEO of aql, Dr Adam Beaumont said: “The internet exchange not only makes Leeds an ideal second site for IT infrastructure in the UK, it also acts on behalf of an independent membership of highly capable communication companies and fosters collaboration between members and the region.

He continued: “It’s the great work done by the board and members of IXLeeds for the benefit of the internet in the region, which has resulted in the event being held in Leeds on behalf of the entire UK’s internet community – the event was co-supported by the London Internet Exchange and London Access Point, the UK’s two other exchanges, working together with IXleeds to welcome the community to the UK. A great success story for all.

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