Data centre company Vapor IO launched a new software-defined interconnection system to enable the exchange of traffic between providers at the network edge, a move executives said will help operators further reduce latency and backhaul costs.

CEO Cole Crawford told Mobile World Live the Kinetic Edge Exchange (KEX) will allow operators, application developers and content providers using its edge data centres to more easily establish peering relationships and trade data.

“Now you can have a virtualised distributed evolved packet core sitting right next to a cloud or content in a much more localised version of the internet. There are some massive backhaul elimination capabilities by letting the carrier do their network handoff to a content provider.”

Matthew Trifiro, CMO, said there had been “a tremendous amount of interest” in the scheme, with operators keen to cut backhaul costs to help fund other projects such as 5G deployments.

Fellow data centre provider Digital Realty is the first to sign up, deploying KEX in Atlanta and Chicago, with plans for further launches moving forward.

Vapor IO edge data centres are live in Atlanta, Chicago and Pittsburgh, with a deployment in Dallas expected by the year-end. It aims to cover the top 30 US markets by end-2021.

While companies like Netflix are likely to strike individual handoff deals with operators, Trifiro noted other exchange agreements with cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services or Cloudflare could cover thousands of services.

Executives stressed Vapor IO will only offer technical connection capabilities through the exchange: it won’t have any hand in setting business terms between providers.