New Ruhr-CIX Internet Exchange launched 

Dortmund, Bochum and Gelsenkirchen, 8 September 2020 - The new Internet Exchange Ruhr-CIX (Ruhr-Commercial Internet Exchange) powered by DE-CIX has been launched. The three Ruhr Region cities of Dortmund, Bochum and Gelsenkirchen are jointly establishing a new ecosystem for the digital economy across city boundaries. Ruhr-CIX is located in the data centers of DOKOM21, TMR and GELSEN-NET, which are connected via a high-speed fiber-optic ring. The technical operation of the Internet Exchange platform is ensured by DE-CIX, the operator of the world's leading Internet Exchange in the German metropolis Frankfurt am Main.

Ruhr-CIX is the first Internet Exchange in Germany to be realized through the merger of three regional network operators and one global Internet Exchange operator. The Ruhr-CIX project represents an innovation boost for the development of the digital economy. For other German regions, it serves as a blueprint. 

First regional Internet Exchange in the Ruhr region 

The regional telecommunication service providers DOKOM21 Gesellschaft für Telekommunikation mbH, GELSEN-NET Kommunikationsgesellschaft mbH and TMR - Telekommunikation Mittleres Ruhrgebiet GmbH seek to increase the importance of the Ruhr Region for the Internet in Germany, and establish the first regional Internet Exchange in the Ruhr Region together with the operator DE-CIX. The aims of the partners are to strengthen digital value creation, expand the infrastructure, and attract new Internet companies to the metropolitan Ruhr Region. “With Ruhr-CIX, a new ecosystem is to be created for the digital economy,” says Ruhr-CIX founder Jörg Figura, Managing Director of DOKOM21 and spokesperson for Ruhr-CIX.  

Expanding digital value creation and Internet infrastructures 

“With this interconnection of fiber-optic networks and data centers across the entire Ruhr Region, and through the largest operators of fiber-optic networks and data centers within the region, we are promoting the technology itself, as well as the range and accessibility of the services of international technology and media groups in Germany's largest conurbation. This will increase the digitalization and interconnection of the entire metropolitan Ruhr Region for companies and private individuals,” Figura emphasizes. 

“Municipal supply services is a field of activity that is developing with tremendous dynamism. Not just since Corona, the digitalization of almost all areas of our society, the broadband rollout, and the question of how and how quickly we can succeed in providing households with fiber-optic connections throughout the country has been in the focus of attention,” says Guntram Pehlke, CEO of DSW21. “As a municipal company, these challenges will also affect us more in the future than the classic supply services in which we have great experience and routine. Ruhr-CIX is also a strong statement for the good cooperation and cohesion in our region, which is often wrongly assumed to be based on parochialism amongst the local authorities.” 

Three Ruhr Region cities interconnecting their strong digital competencies 

Every day, the Internet grows by a million new Internet users worldwide. In 2019, the proportion of users online in Germany was 89 percent. Among 30 to 59 year-olds, the proportion of Internet users was even higher, reaching 95 to 99 percent. 
The Ruhr Region is the largest metropolitan region in Germany, with 53 cities and more than five million inhabitants, as well as being the home base for 37 of the top 500 companies in Germany.  

“The three Ruhr Region cities Dortmund, Bochum and Gelsenkirchen each have strong digital competencies and want to further develop the necessary digital infrastructure together with Ruhr-CIX,” explains Maik Luhmann, Head of the staff unit “Connected City” in Gelsenkirchen. 

The City of Dortmund has been acclaimed as a digital hub in the field of logistics and, along with Frankfurt, Berlin, Hamburg and Munich, acts as a motor for digitalization in Germany. Since 2018, Gelsenkirchen has been a Digital Model Municipality within the framework of the project of the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) "Digital Model Regions NRW", as the city has done considerable exploratory work in the field of digitalization. With its "Gigabit City" initiative, the City of Bochum is again creating the digital infrastructure of tomorrow, something that is indispensable for the large university location which includes, among other things, the Bochum Health Campus and innovative commercial locations such as MARK 51°7. 

Metropolitan Ruhr Region attains essential digital significance 

“With the Ruhr-CIX Internet Exchange, we are helping the densely populated metropolitan Ruhr Region to gain even more sovereignty and essential digital significance in the digital age," says Sebastian Kopietz, City Director of the City of Bochum. 

Thomas Westphal, Managing Director of the Dortmund Economic Development Agency, adds: “After the commissioning of the high-speed fiber-optic ring, the Ruhr backbone, Ruhr-CIX is another important component of the digitalization and network expansion in the region. Ruhr-CIX is, so to speak, the “Hellweg” – the German silk road – of the Internet and connects Dortmund directly with international hubs. With the Ruhr-CIX Internet Exchange, Dortmund is now part of the international data highways. This means that our data does not have to travel via the crowded country roads of the Internet to a distant hub to then be sent out into the world. You can now get into the fast lane directly in Dortmund. We hope that this will have a positive pull effect on the economy, similar to the way DE-CIX has developed in Frankfurt am Main.”  

For Wulf-Christian Ehrich, Deputy Managing Director of the Dortmund Chamber of Industry and Commerce, the newly-created Internet Exchange is a strong location factor for the digital future: “With Ruhr-CIX, we show once again how we are shaping digital transformation in our region. As a result, promising new opportunities for digital processes and business models are constantly opening up for all companies.” 

Ruhr-CIX improves Internet quality in the region 

By distributing the data locally, the new Internet Exchange will further improve Internet quality in the region and contribute to economic growth. It will also promote the use of digital services for businesses and administrations, as well as digital work and leisure activities. 

“Ruhr-CIX will increase the stability and flexibility of the regional infrastructure. Connected companies will enjoy a noticeable improvement in the Internet structure through the local distribution of data alone. Ruhr-CIX will thus contribute to their economic success. Through the direct connection to DE-CIX, they also become a part of a global digital ecosystem including important international players,” Harald A. Summa, CEO of DE-CIX, explains. DE-CIX, the operator of the world's leading Internet Exchange in Frankfurt am Main, is the ideal partner for the professional set-up and operation of Ruhr-CIX. 

Ruhr-CIX reduces the packet run-time between the connected Internet companies and leads to a more stable network for applications like cloud computing, VoIP connections, video, gaming and music streaming. Beyond this, Ruhr-CIX also has the objective of building an improved connection to the important Internet companies like Google, Akamai, Microsoft, Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook. 

Partner DE-CIX – operating Internet Exchanges worldwide for 25 years 

For 25 years, DE-CIX has been operating successful Internet Exchanges in metro regions such as New York, Madrid, Frankfurt, Istanbul, Dubai and Mumbai. DE-CIX is well-known for a very stable and reliable global network infrastructure. Ruhr-CIX will be realized with the same high availability and security requirements as every other of the more than 20 DE-CIX locations around the world. “Through a cooperation with DE-CIX, our partners achieve optimal interconnection and improved marketing towards national and international content providers, cloud providers and Internet service providers, as well as towards companies that are active both nationally and internationally, and systems integrators that are based outside of the Ruhr region,” Summa reports. 

Total capacity of 10 Tbit/s in the first expansion stage 

The DWDM backbone infrastructure implemented by Kapsch BusinessCom GmbH, based on the XTM platform from Infinera, is based on a highly flexible ROADM technology. With this technology, highly available bandwidths ranging from 1 Gbit/s to 100 Gbit/s are transmitted via redundant routing. In the first stage of expansion, the Ruhr Region backbone will have a total capacity of almost 10 Tbit/s and is thus future-proof for the bandwidth growth in the region and at Ruhr-CIX. “We at Kapsch are proud to support our long-standing partners DOKOM21, TMR and GELSENNET in this strategic project in planning, implementation and operation,” says Ralf Arweiler, Managing Director of Kapsch BusinessCom. 

BREKO: Trend-setting for Internet security in Germany 

Dr. Stephan Albers, Managing Director of the leading German fiber-optic association BREKO sees the Ruhr-CIX project as a trend-setting development for Internet security in Germany: “In the future, we must no longer rely solely on handling data traffic via non-European clouds. Especialy for the economy, we in Germany need secure and stable solutions. This is exactly what we ensure with Ruhr-CIX. On the one hand, the regional Internet Exchange will enable connections to international clouds worldwide. At the same time, it meets the highest security requirements via regional network structures and local data centers. The new trend in Internet connectivity is called glocalization: Globally networked, but locally secured. Of course, all this only works on the basis of high-performance fiber-optic networks. I am therefore particularly pleased that we have successfully implemented the first blueprint of a regional Internet Exchange in the Ruhr Region. We are now tackling further regional projects.”