Moncton has long been known as the “Hub City” thanks to its central location in the Maritimes and historic role as a railway and transportation hub.
Now, the Hub City has entered the digital age and has become a hub for a new reason: the transportation of data across fibre optic lines.
Hunter Newby is an owner of Fibre Centre on St. George Boulevard, a network-neutral data centre and network hub for Atlantic Canada, the United States and Europe. Being network-neutral means the network real estate is not owned by a network operator itself, therefore creating an independence that allows for insulation and comfort for tenants of the network space.
He explains that Moncton was a natural choice for the hub both because of its geographic location and the culture of progress in the city.
“I can identify a location that could be developed into a major hub for network services based on the fact that it has other elements that already exist that make it conducive to that,” Newby said.
“Interestingly, Moncton as a city and a region already embodies the spirit, they refer to themselves as the Hub City, which I think is fantastic … They’ve lived several lives, whether it was shipping or trucking or rail over the generations and this is just the next generation. The people of the region are already equipped mentally to embrace this.”
Newby believes a centre like his would have been established eventually even if he hadn’t come along since Moncton is such a natural choice. He says the community spirit of the area is something he hasn’t necessarily seen in every other place he’s set up similar centres. Moncton, he says, has been very involved and engaged as a community in becoming a network hub.
Having this hub is beneficial for everyone from carriers to businesses and individuals, Newby explains. He says carriers get to sell more network services and generate more revenue locally, enterprises can reduce their network expenses and individuals could see less latency in loading speeds since content would become more local.
Newby says the Fibre Centre is all about providing options, which create economic development opportunities for the city by attracting businesses from around the world that otherwise would have overlooked Moncton for more major markets.
“Network services are so critical to business today, the performance, the speed and the cost,” he says. “If you don’t have access to that level of service from a provider like that, [businesses] cannot select you or even consider you as an option of where they would locate.”
Newby expects to see in Moncton what he has seen in other areas where he’s done similar work: to truly bring the internet to New Brunswick.
“Our collective intention … is to bring the content that New Brunswickers are looking up, bring it into New Brunswick,” he says.
“It will occur [here] and the user experience in New Brunswick will improve dramatically and costs will come down, particularly for the enterprise customers. It will be easier to introduce competition for ISP’s and that’s really good for the wholesale providers and the content providers.”
On April 26, Fibre Centre, CIRA (Canadian Internet Registration Authority) and the city of Moncton will be announcing a step to further bring the content New Brunswickers are looking up to their own province.