An unprecedented meeting is taking place today with companies in Alberta's internet delivery business to work out the details for an exchange hub that could have significant impact on the price and quality of internet service in western Canada.
Right now, when two Albertans with different Internet providers send each other a message, it is very likely that the message travels down to the United States and back up again, even if the two are living side by side in, for example, Red Deer. The proposed hub, called the Calgary Internet Exchange, will keep local traffic local. The core motivation, according to meeting organizers, is to improve service and reduce costs for Internet Service Providers in the province.
'We are in the throes of a significant shift in consumer behavior ' what we recognize as 'the virtualization of everyday transactions' ' banking, travel, investing, social networking, entertainment, music, shopping, the list goes on. For that, Albertans need massive amounts of reliable, fast bandwidth. As the head of an Internet Service Provider in Alberta, I know Platinum needs to find ways to meet the increasing demands of the market. The Calgary Internet Exchange is a key first step,' says Bernard Parkinson, CEO of Platinum Communications.
The Calgary Internet Exchange Town Hall will be attended by 40 companies and organizations, including Google, the Canadian Internet Registry Authority (CIRA) and large and small internet providers like Bell, Telus and Platinum.
Hosted at the City of Calgary, and organized by Alberta's not-for-profit advanced internet organization, Cybera, the Town Hall will lay the groundwork for the first exchange at this scale in western Canada. It will be only the second in Canada, next to the Toronto Internet Exchange, called the TorIX, and will be operated by a neutral board of directors made up of participating members.
'This is an essential piece of infrastructure for the 21st century, just as the roads and railways were for the country a hundred years ago,' says Robin Winsor, president of Cybera, the meeting organizer. 'This kind of large-scale hub is part of the underpinning for fair and efficient Internet services across the province. A very important but less obvious benefit is it lowers the barrier to entry for entrepreneurs in the Internet-related marketplace,' says Winsor.
Cybera is the public funded agency in Alberta that advances internet-related innovation in the province. It is technology neutral, and works to the benefit of Albertans, without privilege or partiality to any one organization.
Mary Anne Moser, Cybera
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