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30 December 2002

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LINX expands worldwide net presence as AOL joins


The London Internet Exchange (LINX) is fast expanding its dominance as the largest Internet exchange point outside the USA by attracting further overseas members, including America Online - the world’s largest provider of interactive services.

As a mutual organisation owned by more than 120 Internet and content delivery service providers, LINX allows competing networks to exchange Internet traffic cost-effectively, bringing speed and efficiency benefits to their customers.

Formed with just five ISP members in 1994, LINX now handles up to 96 per cent of UK Internet traffic with peak volumes exceeding 14 gigabits per second - equivalent to 840,000 average e-mail messages. Its members include all the major UK ISPs, plus many from the USA, mainland Europe and the Far East.

“The acceptance of AOL and other overseas companies as members reinforces LINX’s leading status in the global Internet infrastructure,” said sales and marketing manager Vanessa Evans. “The LINX operating structure is now being imitated in other countries.”

Two other overseas ISPs have joined LINX so far this year - Sonera, based in Helsinki, Finland, and RDSnet, from Bucharest, Romania. UK membership has also expanded with the acceptance of Host Europe Internet and Plusnet.

As its membership increases, LINX is introducing leading-edge technologies to expand its high capacity switching and routing facilities to ensure it continues to cope with increasing volumes of Internet traffic.

Founded in 1985, AOL now serves more than 34 million members of its flagship service, along with more than three million CompuServe members, 120 million registered users of ICQ and 48 million registered users of Netscape.com. AOL UK is the UK’s leading interactive services company and is a division of AOL Europe, which serves consumers in ten countries and five languages.

LINX members, who include six of the ten most popular search engines/portals, are also responsible for more than 50 per cent of the searches carried out by home Internet users in the UK. Microsoft joined LINX in 2000, followed by Yahoo! and Lycos last year. These firms account for more than half of the searches carried out by domestic Internet users in the UK, according to recent independent research.

New members continue to join LINX at the rate of around two per month but consolidation in the Internet industry means that the total number of members remains relatively static.

Ms Evans added: "The combined effects of the increase in Internet traffic handled by existing members and the continued expansion of our membership base means we are now handling twice as much data as we were less than a year ago."

March 2002

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