Opening broadband ‘floodgates’ in the rural Northwest


SEATTLE – Tulalip Data Services and Cascadeo, a Seattle?based network and IT engineering consulting firm, are bringing the first Internet data exchange point to a Native American reservation in North America. This exchange point, the Northwest Washington Internet Exchange (IX?NWWA), is an extension of the Seattle Internet Exchange (SIX). The IX?NWWA is located in the Tulalip Datacenter and is also the first exchange in a North American rural area. The IX?NWWA has significantly reduced Internet costs in Snohomish County. It has also brought a variety of new service capabilities.

The IX?NWWA offers transport to Seattle at a cost which creates the opportunity for new services like disaster recovery through real?time data replication. Due to the cost of bandwidth, this service has only been available to the largest companies in urban environments, but now will be accessible and economically viable to companies with as few as five employees in rural areas.

“Every tribe that has the start of a telecom or ISP presence can look into utilizing this technology and approach to drive off?reservation interest and become a hub for broadband in their area,” said Ophir Ronen, principal consultant with Cascadeo.

Ronen explained that in rural environments Internet users are typically forced to pay very high rates for slow connectivity because of a lack of competition and poor Internet infrastructure. He said the IX?NWWA represents an infrastructure investment by the Tulalip Tribes which will allow existing Internet services providers to cut costs while selling faster and more reliable services. At the same time commercial users can directly access the IX?NWWA for new products and services.

“Rural areas have been forced to access the Internet through a straw. We’re working with the Tulalip Tribes to open the floodgates.”

Creating fast connectivity at low rates attracts new companies to rural areas. With these companies come new services. One such service, SnapShotDR, offered by Cascadeo, allows businesses in the Seattle area and the local Snohomish area the opportunity to cost effectively back up their servers to a geographically distinct datacenter in order to ensure business continuity. This kind of service requires access to large bandwidth and was only previously available for the largest companies within urban settings. The IX?NWWA enables this new service.

“We are excited to help Tulalip Data Services both activate the IX?NWWA as a first Internet exchange on a reservation and launch a service which brings new capabilities to Seattle area businesses and new revenues to the reservation,” Ronen said.