November 29, 2022
Henrico isn’t the new Ashburn, but the county has 18% of the East Coast’s internet traffic going through it. This is the product of the Network Access Point (NAP) for the QTS data centers at Henrico White Oak Technology Park, which connects to three undersea Internet cables from Europe and South America that converge in Virginia Beach.
In November, Henrico hosted the Internet Ecosystem Innovation Commission’s second National Action Plan (NAP) Global Summit, which brought together data center executives from around the world to discuss Internet infrastructure, data centers, and cybersecurity. There was also a ribbon-cutting ceremony for DE-CIX Richmond, part of North America’s largest neutral Internet exchange and data center. It is based in White Oak in Henrico’s Sandston borough and has been active since December 2021, connecting to over 3,000 networks, 23 countries, 500+ data centers and 39 Internet exchanges.
While online carriers like Cloudflare and Limelight have their own online exchanges, neutral online exchanges have a larger field of potential customers — potentially leading to more jobs and tax revenue locally, says Vinay Nagpal, president of InterGlobix LLC. and Executive Director of the IEIC.
Neutrality is important, says Ed d’Agostino, vice president and general manager, DE-CIX North America. “Data center neutrality allows us to collaborate with nearly every data center. Carrier neutrality allows us to partner and communicate with them [carriers]. If they don’t see us as neutral, they won’t cooperate with us.”
“You don’t favor one group or the other, but you do provide equal access to the infrastructure,” explains Taj Greeson, QTS Chief Marketing Officer. DE-CIX Richmond and QTS’ NAP, which connects to MAREA cable from Spain, Dunant cable from France and BRUSA cable from Brazil and Puerto Rico, are important parts of the burgeoning Henrico hub.
In July, QTS announced a 1.5 million square foot expansion at Henrico to increase capacity, scheduled for completion in 2024. QTS will also add to its NAP capacity to carry traffic as more subsea cable comes through Virginia Beach, as well. is expected.
Nagpal says Meta Platforms Inc. , which has a 970,000-square-foot Facebook data center in White Oak, could become even more important to the region’s economy, with a strong potential for future growth.
“The demand at this point is very high,” Grayson adds. “The economy is becoming more digital. There is no doubt in my mind that Henrico County can be just as important [New York or New Jersey]. “