Alabama State University President Quinton Ross speaks as the City and County of Montgomery and Alabama State University announce that ASU is joining the Montgomery Internet Exchange at the ASU campus in Montgomery, Ala. on Thursday May 24, 2018.
Mickey Welsh / Advertiser
Alabama State University students should get better internet now that the school has joined the Montgomery data exchange hub known as MGMix.
“For the students, it means they’ll get superior performance,” said Marcus Holt, the city’s manager of IT infrastructure. “A faster internet connection, lower latency, access to maybe to some things they couldn’t access before.”
They’re the second university to join the exchange, after AUM. But one of the other 25 members could grab even more attention: Social media giant Facebook.
City officials said Thursday at a news conference that they’re not allowed to disclose some of the members who are “household names,” but the exchange’s website lists Facebook among the participants.
What that means for the public is less clear-cut.
Lou Ialacci, the city’s chief IT officer, said members can save some money by cutting down on how far their data has to travel. Montgomery County went from 10mb service to 1 gig service after joining the exchange, and now pays less for the service than it did before hooking up, Ialacci said. But that doesn’t mean everything gets to River Region customers faster.
City / County Chief Info and Techonology officer Lou Ialacci speaks as the City and County of Montgomery and Alabama State University announce that ASU is joining the Montgomery Internet Exchange at the ASU campus in Montgomery, Ala. on Thursday May 24, 2018. (Photo: Mickey Welsh / Advertiser)
“The Internet Exchange can do a lot for you, but the last mile is critical,” Ialacci said. “If you don’t have fiber to your home, or you have an older cable, a lot of that will not let you take advantage of the new stuff we’re doing.”
He noted that local service providers WOW and Charter are starting to run fiber to more homes to take advantage of that, and that WOW recently started offering 1 gig service to some residents.
“They understand,” Ialacci said. “They’re trying to use fiber. They’re trying to get better connectivity because they know that’s the wave of the future, and people are going to want it.”
MGMix launched two years ago as a partnership between the city, the county, the military and research universities. It’s now the fastest growing and second busiest exchange in the Southeast. Last year, it expanded to 100-gig capacity.
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