The Fibre Centre began linking Boston and Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada, in April 2015 with dark fiber. The network neutral 25,000 square foot is a network-neutral data center and meet-me-room where physical networks can connect. The project “offers a route around the big-city carrier hotels” and its visionaries hope to reproduce it in other communities.
Hub City Updated
In 2000, a now defunct company invested $960 million to lay a giant fiber-optic cable between the Canadian Maritimes and Europe. When the company went bankrupt, Hibernia acquired the fiber, which runs under the community of Moncton. There is also a second similar cable running in the city of about 72,000 people, which put Moncton in a good location for a colocation facility. The community obtained the nickname “Hub City” back when railroads where the main form of transportation, but the nickname still applies.
The city helped establish the Fibre Centre within Moncton as a way to contribute to economic development and improve services for the city. One of the owners of the facility, Hunter Newby, has visited us for the Community Broadband Bits podcast episodes 111 and 104. Newby has been involved in other carrier neutral projects and hopes to reproduce this model in other communities.
Ryan Sorrey, Director of Information Systems for Moncton described some of the benefits to the city:
“Our partnership with the Fibre Centre has provided our organization with several advantages, including enhanced reliability, access to higher speed network(s), and opportunity for increased connectivity between municipalities for greater collaboration, and the benefit of more direct connections to major cloud providers.”
The addition of the Fibre Centre spurred economic development in Moncton. A tech boon in New Brunswick, especially in Moncton, has created a gap between open positions and the skilled people to fill them. Companies are looking outside the province for potential employees to find the talent they need. Local officials see that trend continuing.
Improving Local Internet Access
Moncton recently became a new Internet Exchange Point when the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) announced in April that the Moncton IXP would be operating by early May:
The IXP puts Moncton in with other major Canadian cities that have an exchange, such as Halifax, Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa and Calgary.
"It's now of sufficient size, strategic location and importance [to say] that it's New Brunswick's city with an Internet exchange," said David Shipley, the director of strategic initiatives at the University of New Brunswick's Information Technology Services.
"An IXP acts as a hub where Internet service providers and content delivery networks - such as Google and Amazon, as well as universities, cities, and others with web content - connect to each other's network infrastructure.”
Securing Data In Canada
Another advantage of an IXP in Moncton is the security it provides due to its geographical location. With more data routes in the country, ISPs don’t have to rely on networks that travel within the U.S. When personal information travels into the U.S., American regulations apply regarding surveillance of that data. With more exchanges in Canada, there is less need for traffic to travel outside of the country.
Enhanced security by keeping connections closer to home is welcome by the local tech industry and security experts. CyberNB, Canada's Cyber Security Strategy, noted:
"This new Internet exchange point in New Brunswick is very important to our provincial innovation agenda and to our collective security as we connect our communities. This partnership, supported by CIRA's unique tools and insight, helps to establish a more resilient and safe Internet for our communities and sets us on a course to establish a more secure Internet in Canada," said Allen Dillon, managing director, CyberNB. "This new exchange point helps to protect New Brunswick businesses by accessing more data locally in Canada versus transiting information through the United States. This is an essential step to help protect our data and information sovereignty as we continue to build our economy on the Internet."
Looking For More Communities
Newby hopes to find more communities in which to develop similar models. He can be contacted at hn(at)fibrecentre.com.