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Kansas to Build State's First Internet Exchange Point at Wichita State University

The State of Kansas has awarded a $5 million grant to construct a carrier-neutral Internet Exchange Point (IXP) next to Wichita State University's (WSU) Innovation Campus. Nonprofit Connected Nation (CN) and Newby Ventures will partner as Connected Nation Internet Exchange Points (CNIXP) to build, own, and operate the facility across from WSU's Eck Stadium.

Construction is set to begin in January 2024 and is expected to take 18 months, said CN. WSU is providing a 40-year lease on the ground as an in-kind matching grant. The internet exchange ecosystem DE-CIX will be the IX platform operator.

"The hardened modular facility will be constructed to withstand 200 mph winds and will have redundant electrical and mechanical systems so that it can remain fully operational even during extended community power outages," CN said in a release. "The facility will also be capable of expanding on a modular basis with zero down-time as network operator needs grow in the coming years."

The facility will have several benefits for the university, businesses, and the state at large, CN said:

  • Local and regional networks will be able to exchange data traffic with each other.
  • Cloud services and content networks such as Amazon, Google, Netflix, and Microsoft will have faster and more secure connections.
  • High bandwidth, low latency, low cost, and resilient connectivity will enhance regional internet connections and attract businesses.
  • WSU's ground lease will allow it to establish network interconnection space and services within the facility at no cost for 40 years, which is expected to bring $2 million back to the university in benefits, according to Hunter Newby, CEO of Newby Ventures.
  • The research and innovation park Innovation Campus, occupying over 120 acres at WSU, houses several global companies and organizations that will benefit from the IXP.

"A thriving community is built on connections," said Rick Muma, WSU president. "Establishing a carrier-neutral IXP at Wichita State, right in the heart of our state, will drive innovation and ensure that all Kansans have access to the increased opportunities provided by this highly efficient and reliable digital infrastructure."

Public K–12 schools will reap the advantage as well, said Rob Dickson, chief Information officer of Wichita Public Schools.

"This state-of-the-art IXP represents a monumental leap towards enhancing the digital infrastructure of our state. It promises to revolutionize the way our schools — from urban to rural areas — access and utilize the internet. This is more than an infrastructure development; it's a commitment to ensuring that every student and educator in Kansas has the tools for success in an increasingly interconnected world. By significantly lowering the cost of internet access and improving its quality, we are setting the stage for our young learners to thrive in the digital age, preparing them for the challenges of tomorrow."

For more information about the project, or to pre-order space in the facility, interested parties may contact [email protected].

About the Author

Kate Lucariello is a former newspaper editor, EAST Lab high school teacher and college English teacher.

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