IXLeeds is the Northern internet exchange. Launched in September 2010 as a neutral not-for-profit, it is the only fully-independent internet exchange in the UK outside London, and makes Leeds the only internet-independent city in the UK outside the capital.

In simple terms, IXLeeds allows network operators and internet service providers (ISPs) to plug into a central location, and exchange internet traffic between their networks.

In doing so, it helps its members increase their network resilience and reduce overall traffic backhaul costs toward London. By enabling traffic to take a more direct route between many ISP networks, IXLeeds helps improve the efficiency of the internet, resulting in a better service for the end user.

IXLeeds raises awareness of the purpose and importance of a solid internet exchange fabric in the UK. It brings value to the region by promoting cooperation between network operators in the North of England, improving the quality of local traffic and attracting national and international companies in need of Northern interconnection capability.

The exchange was co-founded by Prof. Adam Beaumont (aql), Andy Davidson (Allegro Networks), Mark Fordyce (York Data Services) and Tom Bird (Portafast). It grew out of a working group set up in 2008 to promote collaboration between operators in Yorkshire, and is the result of years of collaborative work by many organisations.

It is housed in aql’s central Leeds data centres, including the historic Salem Chapel. aql provides all space, power, cabling and support to IXLeeds for free, including cabling to members.