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From December 2013 Internet users in Scotland should be better placed for a faster internet experience thanks to the forthcoming Scottish Internet Exchange.

The Scottish IX is expected to be enabled from the end of October with a formal switch on ceremony by the Scottish Government scheduled for December.

The essence of an Internet Exchange is an attempt to keep local traffic within its own boundaries. As an example, if someone is connected to the Scottish IX and is sending traffic to another provider, also on the same IX, the data does not need to flow upstream (to London, or into Europe). This localisation improves general network performance and stability.

There are currently twelve internet exchanges in the UK but most are based in the London area, with a few in the North of England.

The Scottish IX, a partnership between The London Internet Exchange (LINX) and Pulsant, will be based in the Pulsant data centre in Edinburgh. It was only in March 2013 that LINX publicly discussed the idea of a Scottish exchange.

LINX, a not-for-profit organisation, is currently the third-largest neutral IXP in Europe, based on data volumes. Network providers become members of LINX and jointly own and vote on activities and the financial affairs of LINX. All members agree not to charge other members to exchange data on their networks.

In 1999 there was a failed attempted at a Scottish Exchange. ScotIX was a commercially run venture and convinced many in the industry that a commercial business model was not an option. Almost all of the current IXs are not-for-profit organisations.

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