Alabama’s first Internet Exchange unveiled in Montgomery — one of only four in the Southeast

Montgomery, Ala., may soon become known as the global center for cyber security now that the City of Montgomery, Montgomery County, the State of Alabama and Maxwell/Gunter AFB and the new Cyber College of the Air Force have aligned to form the Montgomery Cyber Connection

MONTGOMERY — Montgomery, Ala., a city historically inclined to rapid change and revolution — from Rosa Parks to the Wright Brothers first civilian flight school, today released news that propels it to the forefront of global cyber security.

“In 50 years from now when people write about the fact that America reinvented the way it could live with freedom, independence, civil liberties and privacy in an information age and they write about the River Region, Montgomery and Alabama being the leader of that effort, they will find that in this moment the magic ingredients for innovation existed,” Air University Commander Lt. Gen. Steven Kwast said.

Lt. Gen. Kwast was a catalyst for the development of the Department of Defense’s Cyber College at Maxwell Air Force Base. The Air Force Cyber College, which launches in September, will serve as the tip of the sword for the U.S. Department of Defense by creating an environment promoting collaboration between the best and brightest minds in cyberspace and cyber security strategy. It will play a critical role in combatting international and regional threats to cyber security, while collaborating with countries and organizations across the globe to create a safer, more secure Internet.

“Alongside the economic impact, there’s no question that cyber-attacks are on the rise. The cyber war is here, and I am so proud that Montgomery and the River Region, Maxwell and Gunter, are playing a leading role in this fight,” U.S. Rep. Martha Roby, former Montgomery city councilor and congresswoman for Alabama’s 2nd District, said.
U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, who represents the state’s 7th District and serves on the U.S. House Intelligence Committee, concurred, saying, “There is no bigger threat to our national security than cyber. It is a true testament to the power of collaboration with businesses, government, military and commerce coming together, and I hope that our Internet Service Providers will take full advantage of this resource.”

Uniquely positioned to become a leader in cyber technology thanks to a state-of-the-art datacenter and Maxwell Air Force Base and Gunter Annex, home to Air University and the “IT Nerve Center” of the Air Force, Montgomery’s local government officials and business leaders capitalized on this opportunity. The City of Montgomery, the Montgomery County Commission and the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce joined business and military representatives to announce the Montgomery Cyber Connection, an initiative that will dramatically boost internet speeds for partnering Internet Service Providers, improve connectivity among Alabama’s research universities and colleges and expand data capacity.

Located in the Retirement Systems of Alabama’s Dexter Avenue Datacenter, the Montgomery Internet Exchange (MIX) is the driving force for the Montgomery Cyber Connection and makes Montgomery one of only four sites in the Southeast with an Internet Exchange. The MIX will speed content delivery to those in the River Region and beyond by storing it closer to home, rather than pulling it from exchanges located in other parts of the country. Additionally, the MIX will benefit from a partnership with Akamai Technologies. Akamai, a global leader in content delivery network services, will store servers at the RSA Datacenter. Akamai officials chose to locate in Montgomery because of the global significance of the new Cyber College at Air University and because of local public and private partnerships in support of the military.

“Just like first in flight or first in transportation, we are the first to get an Internet exchange in Alabama, and we cannot overstate the significance of the Montgomery Cyber Connection will play in expanding industry and putting Montgomery on the map, while providing the support needed for the Air Force Cyber College to keep us safe, thanks to the foresight and expertise of our military and business leaders,” Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange said.

The Montgomery Cyber Connection will link Alabama’s universities in research collaboration, support the new Air University Cyber College mission to strengthen national defense, and stimulate business development and tech startups. In addition to the tremendous statewide impact for economic development and innovation, The Montgomery Cyber Connection will boost the Montgomery metro economy and improve quality of life for area residents. The Montgomery Cyber Connection opens up a new vertical industry target and job growth potential for the River Region. According to key partners in the effort, the MGM Cyber Connection can have the economic impact of landing a new Hyundai, which creates more than $4.8 billion in statewide impact annually.

“This journey started years ago at the county commission,” Montgomery County Commission Chairman Elton Dean said. “By [Mayor Strange and I] being from corporate America, we expected a lot out of technology, and we are finally realizing the results from that quest to make Montgomery one of the premier cities in the tech field.”

The Montgomery Cyber Connection was created as a result of partnerships among government, military, business and university leaders. More information is available at www.mix-al.net.

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