Closing The Digital Divide Through Internet Exchange Points

How the CNIXP is helping small cities and rural areas keep pace with large metros

Today’s society is driven by the Internet. Everything from running enterprises and getting healthcare to making reservations and communicating with loved ones requires a digital connection that is quick, reliable, and secure.

To accommodate this growing societal reliance, the Internet is evolving, and one of the most critical evolutions comes in the form of Internet Exchange Points (IXPs). An IXP is a physical building through which local Internet service providers (ISPs), cloud services, content delivery networks, and transit providers of all types can meet and exchange Internet traffic between their networks.

“Not to be confused with the IXP facility, an Internet Exchange (IX) is an Ethernet switch that enables IP network operators to exchange Internet traffic with one another over the switch fabric. IP network operators connect to this IX port, which in turn allows them to connect to other networks and exchange traffic—in a process known as “peering”—according to their respective policies.”

Cities with neutral interconnection facilities benefit from low-latency connections, access to inexpensive, wholesale IP transit, and proximity to cloud services and content delivery networks. In simpler terms: any area with an IXP can keep pace with the quickly evolving Internet.

While major metro areas often have more than one IXP, small cities and rural areas risk getting left behind without one, particularly as latency reduction increases in importance relative to increases in bandwidth.

Hunter Newby, Owner, Newby Ventures and Tom Ferree, Chairman & CEO, Connected Nation

Despite the fact that 57 metro markets across the U.S. have IXP facilities, 14 states and 3 territories have no such facility at all. Even states that have strong interconnection ecosystems in certain regions—such as Dallas, TX, or Miami, FL—may still have regions within them where IXP development is needed.  The panhandle regions of Texas and Florida are two such examples.

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Hunter Newby

Hunter Newby is an entrepreneur, investor, conservationist, and the owner of Newby Ventures. As Co-Founder, Chief Strategy Officer, and a Director of Telx, he pioneered the carrier-neutral Meet-Me-Room and the development of carrier hotels and data centers across the US. Since the sale of Telx, he has served on multiple company boards, publishes research on network infrastructure, and continues to be a founder, developer, and investor in multiple network-neutral infrastructure businesses across North America. Newby has received numerous awards throughout his career, including being named to the Global Telecoms Business Top 40 Under 40 list in 2010. He can be contacted via Twitter at

Tom Ferree

Tom Ferree, as Chairman & CEO of national nonprofit Connected Nation (CN), brings broadband and digital inclusion work to more than 30 states and US territories. This work has included overseeing the single largest NTIA State Broadband Initiative portfolio, leading the implementation of CN’s No Child Left Offline and Computers 4 Kids programs (which resulted in distributing more than 6,000 computers and laptops to at-risk youth), and leading the development of 650+ community- and regional-specific technology action plans. He previously served on the Federal Communications Commission’s re-chartered Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee, which recommended how to accelerate the deployment of high-speed Internet access across the US. He can be reached via Twitter @TomFerree4 or via email at