aql and SSE Enterprise Telecoms: boosting Leeds’ digital economy

London, UK – 09 March 2016 – SSE Enterprise Telecoms – the UK’s leading provider of network infrastructure and data centre services, and part of the SSE Group – has enabled aql’s data centre customers to be able to access a range of diversely connected dark fibre routes and ultra-resilient optical networking connectivity solutions linking the globe to its Leeds Metropolitan data centres. This transforms the connectivity and throughput for aql’s tenants, the majority of which are Internet Service Providers (ISPs), which support the digital needs of the business community in the City.

Founded and headquartered in Central Leeds, aql is a wholesale communications operator with international reach. Within Leeds, aql is the main carrier-neutral data centre operator, providing the main points of interconnect within the city. Back in 2010, rapid growth in demand for its wholesale telecoms services in the north of the UK prompted aql to open its first data centre facility in the centre of Leeds. It was vital that the new data centre had access to high-capacity, highly-resilient connectivity, which was capable of underpinning the network requirements of multiple ISPs as well as enterprise and public sector organisations. SSE Enterprise Telecoms was the first such operator to recognise the need to support this central hub. By providing access to SSE Enterprise Telecoms’ network, aql has provided the Leeds City Region with a scalable network connecting Leeds to key northern cities and of course, to London.

“SSE Enterprise Telecoms shares our plans to ensure Leeds is recognised as one of the key digital hubs in the UK,” said Dr Adam Beaumont, founder and CEO of aql. “The City has a world-class digital industry including a thriving community of ’big data’ innovators, driving demand for a hyper-connected city. Forward thinking organisations such as SSE Enterprise Telecoms, providing dark fibre solutions, ensure that the Northern Powerhouse can support the terabit demands of data research and innovation.”

aql is also a founding member of IXLeeds, the Northern Internet Exchange – providing a hub for data-exchange in the North of England, increasing the resilience between networks in the region and providing London-independent routes to the rest of the globe. SSE Enterprise Telecoms’ connectivity into and across the city was key to bringing a number of key service providers to this exchange, catalysing an increase in the diversity of routes and access within the region. A number of leading regional and national ISPs have already taken advantage of this capability. SSE Enterprise Telecoms’ network is a logical choice due to the resilient paths the network takes across the city and into the facility, ensuring optimum uptime and reliability.

“We’re delighted to be supporting digital growth in Leeds,” said Colin Sempill, managing director, SSE Enterprise Telecoms. “With a new multi-terabit capable dark fibre link underpinning its operations, aql can ensure its wholesale partners are connected with low latency and jitter free connectivity – paramount for services such as IP Voice. Meanwhile, with a range of our networking solutions now available at the data centre, ISPs and enterprises can easily connect into the carrier-neutral aql data centre, which will help lay the foundations for a vibrant digital economy in the City.”

SSE Enterprise Telecoms was one of the first major operators to see the strategic importance of the aql facilities in central Leeds. In 2010, SSE Enterprise Telecoms connected its core network into the city hub, successfully completing the entire project in just two months. This included agreeing terms, securing planning permission, performing the necessary civils, laying the fibre and lighting up the first customer connections.

Dr Beaumont concluded: “In SSE Enterprise Telecoms, we’ve found a network operator that shares many of our values. Its experience of delivering services to some of the country’s most demanding customers mirrors our highly-accredited service offering and our desire to deliver. The company employs great people who understand exactly what needs to be done. The install was a great example of what continues to be great teamwork between both companies. Its ability to deliver a network connection of this scale, which is of such strategic importance to the economic growth of the region, is not to be underestimated.”

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