Guest Blog: What's the news from the future?


Guest Blog: What's the news from the future?

15 July 2015


From Graeme Gordon, CEO, IFB

You will have seen and heard a number of squeals and shouts about the state of connectivity in the UK, especially when this comes to our more regional or rural areas. IFB get these issues. That is why, for nearly 20 years, we been involved in local, national and international projects and initiatives which scope and try to deal with the relevant digital needs of our clients and the communities they work in.

Firstly please let me state, we love bandwidth. We love when our clients need and use more bandwidth as it means more data traffic moving across our networks and traversing our Data Centres. This in turn gives us more opportunity to work with our clients to better connect, protect and enable this data much more smartly than just a network provider can.

Smart is key

We always work with our clients to ensure that just having more bandwidth solves the issue or satisfies the need. Sure you will eventually use all the capacity on that 1Gig line (or greater) but for what? How soon? And do you need to be paying for all of that right now-regardless of how cheap it is?

This increasing cycle of easier to access big connectivity, which enables data consumption and creation, drives Data Centre usage IT power consumption (very efficiently I will say in our case) maybe needs some perspective.

The bandwidth our clients demand from IFB has risen 5 fold in the last 5 years all driven by the need to create and consume more data, both from other providers such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft and from IFB directly.

Over this period, the volume of Data on our Cloud services, Backup and Platform as a Service has increased nearly 50 fold.

At the same time our power consumption has risen by less than 1.5 times.

IFB's core business is about securing the historic, enabling the here and now and delivering the future services our clients will demand, effectively and efficiently.

We promote to Government and institutions that the nation’s infrastructure and connectivity need to be taken in the same breath as the supply and demand of electricity, water and gas. The infrastructure has always had weak points - areas of poorer or more limited coverage - and these need to be planned out and not left alone.

Some of these areas, even for historical infrastructure services might surprise you. When we bought our new Head Office - Building 54, in Altens Aberdeen, a well-established and provided for industrial estate, the first thing we did was secure the future power we knew we would need. This was despite the fact that the power to Building 54 was okay and would have been adequate for the next 3 years at least. But we knew we would need much, much more to accommodate the growing needs of our clients demanding more and more data intensive services, all driven by better connectivity. So we secured 10MW of power to the site which, in real terms, enables us to deliver power to your IT equipment or services at densities well beyond those currently being offered. Why? Because we know that our clients and our own demands will at some point need all of this.

This strategy of never running out and future proofing while still delivering services right now has always been key. That is why we were the first commercial ISP in Scotland to deliver ADSL services and the first to configure and deliver IPv6 for our clients. Both game changing services for all involved and, with IPv6, probably the least visible but most dramatic change to the internet for years.

We work with the traditional companies to help us connect up our clients with anything from a phone line to delivering dark fibre back to IFB or between their sites globally. At the same time we work with relevant new providers that can extend the relevance of the services IFB provides to our current and new clients well in to the future.

In July this year our first clients went live on the Aberdeen CORE network, which connects our Aberdeen clients with true fibre to the premise services. This means that the fibre we dig in to you today is truly future proofed to a level not commercially or technically accessible before. The success of this initial stage and the accelerating demands from our home market, even in challenging times as they are, means we are now advancing the network build and making it much more widely available by connecting a second site as a Hub or PoP, our head office at Building 54, to the Aberdeen CORE.

This means that we have established future proofed service being used right now and ahead of others. This helps us help you as IFB will be migrating our balance of several hundred of our current clients on the new network, simply because it offers better performance at the same like for like cost, and at the same time opening up this network earlier to any organisations really looking to future proof how they work.

All good news.