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Equinix offers free internet exchange ports for ISPs in 3 states

You might not think a company like Equinix would have much to do with closing the digital divide, but the company has found a way to put its resources to work. Equinix announced this week it will offer ISPs in three states a year of free access to two 10 Gbps internet exchange (IX) ports.

Internet exchanges are points in the network where ISPs can connect to other internet infrastructure companies, such as content delivery networks (CDNs), to exchange traffic. By shortening the distance traffic needs to travel to be exchanged, ISPs can improve network performance, latency and potentially reduce infrastructure costs. The 10-gig port is in the middle of Equinix's portfolio, sitting alongside 1-gig and 100-gig options.

The initiative is apparently part of Equinix’s commitment to the CEO Action for Racial Equity (CEOARE) fellowship, which includes a focus on advancing education and opportunity.

Equinix said the free ports will be available to ISPs in three states: Texas, New York and Michigan. However, they will only be available to providers participating in the government’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which offers a $30 monthly subsidy to eligible consumers to help pay for their broadband service.

A company spokesperson said Equinix will not receive a cut of the ACP subsidy, but hopes its effort will “help the FCC drive ACP adoption and help households afford the broadband they need for work, school and healthcare.”

It is not entirely clear what will happen once the 12-month pilot period for free port access is up.

The Equinix representative said that the company is “committed to making an informed, data-driven decision on the future of this program in the coming months. Equinix expects to work with ISPs on any ongoing programs or services they may be interested in continuing after the program concludes.”

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