aql was founded by mobile security specialist Professor Adam Beaumont back in 1998 at the beginning of the “internet boom” as a domain name registrar and email and web hosting company. By mid-2000, aql was listed in the top 3% of registries (sales by volume of .uk domain names, source: Nominet UK annual statistics 2000-03). This position enabled the company to invest heavily in telecoms infrastructure expansion, entering the mobile messaging market in 1999, with direct connections to the UK mobile network providers.
Further expansion into wholesale telecommunications in 2003 allowed us to create a full telecommunications network capable of supplying UK telephone numbering to the broadband industry to fulfill the growing demand for broadband voice “VoIP/IP Telephony" services. aql now hosts close to 90 million telephone numbers for the UK IP telephony industry, and is one of the largest wholesale operators in the UK. If you have a UK broadband telephone service, it's very likely that the traffic is managed by aql somewhere in the food chain.
We're dedicated to building intrinsic value in our business. Since 2006, we have been investing our profits in our own datacentre infrastructure in the heart of Leeds, complementing our presence in London and Manchester. Over the past decade, we have built four high-security carrier neutral facilities to deliver our solutions and to not only help us control our cost-of-delivery, but allow us to scale in an agile manner. Our second city centre datacentre was built in 2010 and became the main hub for traffic in and out of the North of England, including the main terabit node for the Janet UK network.
We now have four datacentres in Leeds with a total footprint of 500 racks, and are embarking on the next 1000 racks of datacentre space. Our carrier neutrality (meaning we do not impose any barriers to entry to any fibre operators) means we have every single fibre provider available in the region with a presence in our datacentres. We are also the home to IXLeeds - the mutual, not-for-profit internet exchange. IXLeeds is one of three standalone internet exchanges in the UK and is the only exchange of its kind outside of London.