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Data Centre Boost for City's Growing Digital Sector

LEEDS, England, November 22, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

The Leeds digital sector is forging ahead with a new £43 million data centre from telecoms firm aql, to be built on the city's South Bank.

aql are working with Leeds and Partners to drive forward the region's digital strategy and the new centre - the UK's largest independent data centre outside London - could attract more major players in the industry to join existing names such as Cogent, SSE Telecom, Level (3), Janet and Fujitsu.

Already aql is working closely with these operators to connect the city - and current projects include a 100 Gigabit connection to e-health operator EMIS.

Plans to roll out high speed broadband are also underway in Leeds and the facility, known as DC4, will act as a hub of international networks. It will allow local companies to rent secure IT storage space that minimises the chance of disruption to their business and will be used to house computer systems and associated components such as telecommunications and storage systems for aql's public and private sector clients.

Dr Adam Beaumont, chief executive of aql, said that until the last couple of years, internet service providers have had to direct Leeds internet traffic via London.

But this has now changed - due to operators plugging into a hub in one of aql's three existing city sites DC1, 2 and 3; Leeds can now be independent of technical problems in the capital, creating a base that would keep traffic local, faster and more reliable.

"aql's city centre DC2 facility is the home IXLeeds - the only mutual not-for-profit internet exchange outside of London whose aim is to improve connectivity between operators for the good of the region," he said.

"This exchange, formed 2 years ago, provides a hub which allows regional operators to exchange traffic via the most optimum routes - this not only allows faster access speeds, but also increases the quality of the connectivity, which is important for services such as video conferencing and webinars - an important part of e-learning.

"We're on track to fill our existing sites by mid-2013, so the new DC4 site will allow expansion room to support the data growth from the IT, media and mobile sectors - including the huge demands which 4G mobile will place on the regions infrastructure."

Lurene Joseph, Leeds and Partners chief executive, said: "The data centre anchors the region's digital sector, sending the strong message to national and international investors that they can have confidence in our infrastructure.

"Businesses in Leeds across a wide variety of sectors, from retail and fashion to medical technology and bio informatics, can utilise faster more reliable connections that are independent and protected of any problems in London."

The planning for the major development on part of the former Yorkshire Chemicals land in Hunslet was approved today by Leeds City Council.

The facility is designed in collaboration with local architects, Garnett Netherwood, to sit within a larger scheme by Yorkshire Design Group where the datacentre will share not only connectivity, but also heat with surrounding businesses and residences.

The centre comprises two six storey buildings totalling 120,000 square feet of space, and further allows aql to support huge data rates which will catalyse the growth of digital businesses in Leeds and supports the city's long term vision to be a world leader in the sector.

It will be connected to aql's existing city sites (DC1, 2 and 3) by a private fibre loop.

The surrounding area is a mixture of uses including residential, offices and retail, at Brewery Wharf, Indigo Blu, New Dock, Leeds City Office Park and Crown Point Retail Park.

Notes to Editor:

Any mention of aql should be used in lowercase letters as it is a trademarked name and device of (aq) ltd.

aql is a UK regulated telecommunications and datacentre operator based in the centre of Leeds. Established in 1998, aql specialise in providing a wide range of innovative wholesale telecommunications solutions including mobile SMS text messaging and IP telephony.

DC4 is aql's newest high capacity datacentre, allowing more companies to access the Internet connectivity which aql has brought to Leeds and Yorkshire as part of existing initiatives such as IXLeeds (http://www.ixleeds.net). Due for completion in 2014, the datacentre represents Leeds' latest step on the way to becoming one of the UK's major technological and media hubs.

Stock Press Photos & Branding guidelines - http://aql.com/press/

Press Contact: Steven Reed (Marketing Manager, aql)
Tel: +44(0)1133-20-40-70
Email: [email protected]

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