In late 2016 the Scottish Government (SG) allocated a grant to improve the infrastructure at IXScotland and to encourage networks to interconnect there. Any organisation is welcome to submit a bid for support from this SG grant, however content delivery networks will be prioritised in order to specifically address an SG objective. Others may bid, but bids would have to include a compelling proposition demonstrating the overarching objective of developing IX Scotland.
Funding is available for initial data centre setup and running costs or some combination of the two for a defined time-period. This document advises interested parties about the grant, how to submit a bid for funding, associated timelines and the information that will be required as part of their bid.
LINX Trading Ltd is responsible for administering the SG grant. It is therefore important to stress that successful bidders will not receive SG funding directly. LINX Trading Ltd will order and pay for the relevant resources — backhaul, transit, rack space, — from suppliers. It is a condition of the grant that the funds must be committed before the end of 2017. The ad-hoc, independent IXScotland Development Group (IDG) will oversee the allocation of this SG grant, evaluate funding requests from prospective bidders and decide which bids will be in the best interests of the Internet sector in Scotland. IDG is chaired by the Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) and its constitution does not contain any entities which would otherwise have an interest in bidding for funding. It is wholly independent of LINX and LINX Trading Limited.
Successful bidders will be required to interconnect at IXScotland for a minimum of three years. It is likely that 10G port fees will be introduced at IXScotland during this time. Prospective bidders should, therefore, indicate whether their requests for funding take account of the cost of these potential fees or not.
Funding allocations made by the IDG will be final as a result of the requirement to commit the SG grant by the end of 2017 and there will be no right of appeal either directly to SG, LINX Trading Limited or the IDG. The IDG will decide how best to apportion the available funds between bidders. It is under no obligation to accept or reject any bids from specific industry sectors. Bids for funding of approximately £50-100,000 will broadly be in line with current expectations and would, therefore, be considered more likely to be successful than bids for £250,000 or more unless an extremely strong and compelling case is provided in support of such a bid.
Timetable of events
17th July: Prospective bidders should send their expression of interest (EoI) to IDGresponse@linx.net This EoI is simply to advise IDG how many bids it is likely to receive. It does not bind either party to submit or evaluate a bid for funding
31st July: midnight deadline for submission of grant application to IDGresponse@linx.net
31st August: successful applicants notified
1st September: resources released
4th December: project completed
The IDG assumes that an organisation applying for funding under this programme will be using either caching and Internet transit or backhaul transport for serving the content. organisations with a different setup and/or need for both Internet transit and backhaul must describe their architecture and why this is needed. IXScotland is currently available in Edinburgh at the Pulsant South Gyle datacentre and will also shortly also be available in the Datavita Fortis datacentre near Glasgow.
Applicants must submit a short ( no more than 5 sides of A4) document addressing the following criteria:
1. Connected port(s) size.
2. Estimated cost and size of rack space requirement (including power) for their equipment and datacentre location(s)
3. Estimated cost of proposed Internet transit requirements. If this bandwidth is to be used for out of band management or cache fill, the applicant must specify which.
4. Requirements and likely cost for backhaul bandwidth and the destination(s) of this bandwidth
5. Overview of the bidder’s network or distribution platform and how it will benefit the Scottish Internet community.
6. Size of connected bandwidth and estimates/projections of usage
7. High-level deployment programme including timeline
8. A named contact and email address
Any additional questions must be submitted to IDGresponse@linx.net. IDG will provide all bidders with answers to clarification questions unless these are considered commercially sensitive or confidential. Bidders should, therefore, identify any such queries at the point of request – any identification of queries as confidential after they have been received may, at the discretion of the IDG be rejected.
Should an applicant wish they may submit variations of their requirements or an alternative option where they believe it would be of increased value to the Scottish Internet sector.
Using the information above, the IDG will aim to provide funding to as many applicants as possible within the available SG grant funding envelope. The strategic goal is to select applications so that the maximum traffic and content accessed by end-users in Scotland will be available for peering at IXScotland. IDG is tasked with making the best use of the funding for the overall benefit of Scotland’s Internet infrastructure as a whole rather than specific bids. For example, a modest application by a small provider that is valuable to the Scottish Internet community may be preferred by IDG. Similarly, bids from two (or more) CDNs could be more successful than an application from a single provider who requests all or most of the available SG funding.
When evaluating applications, the IDG will try to optimise requirements for rack space, Internet transit and backhaul, in relation to the resources available to maximise the three points highlighted below.
Aside from the overall benefit to the Scottish Internet community, the IDG will assess bids on the basis of (in no particular order or rank):
1. The estimated number of users of the content;
2. The bandwidth that could be peered at IX Scotland; and
3. The value of the content for end-users in Scotland.
Responsibilities of successful applicants
Successful applicants will be expected to sign a short side letter promising fair and reasonable behaviour at IXScotland. Orders for equipment and connectivity are likely to be processed by early September and that infrastructure will be expected to be in operation at IXScotland no later than early December 2017.