Dallas-based DartPoints is testing the waters in Iowa with localized “edge-market” data centers designed to network across underserved regions in the U.S. Built in 2020, the company’s North Liberty edge data center represents one of 212 underserved markets targeted by DartPoints, which recently announced a partnership with DE-CIX International’s Internet Exchange carrier to deliver broadband to local internet service providers.

“We’re strong believers that digital redistribution efforts on the internet are taking place at a pretty significant clip,” said Scott Willis, DartPoints CEO.

The company provides internet exchange services to businesses that then provide broadband access to Iowa residents and organizations. DartPoints will choose expansion plans based on discussions with local internet service providers.

DE-CIX will manage local deployments of internet exchanges to DartPoints customers, including order processing and ongoing network management to local market connectivity.

“Today, an [internet exchange] doesn’t exist in the state. The state of Iowa has to import and export their data,” Willis said. “When we fully deploy [internet exchanges] and bring that into eastern Iowa, it’s going to enable capabilities and ecosystems that in the state don’t exist today. We’re excited about being part of that.”

Edge market data centers are smaller and cover a geographically targeted area. DartPoints still doesn’t know how far their edge centers can extend service in a region, Willis said, but the company expects to add more small-scale sites to create a network around the state, rather than expanding existing locations. DartPoints’ edge-market data centers can start as free-standing, modular buildings or fit within multi-tenant office buildings, initially holding 10 to 18 server racks.

Autonomous vehicles, biotechnology, agritechnology, manufacturing, artificial intelligence and other applications are increasing the demand on digital infrastructure. Building a customer support team that can manage that network is a challenge without an existing data center workforce in most of the region, Willis said.

“It’s going to require the type of digital infrastructure that DartPoints is deploying at a very local level,” Willis said. “There’s a strong belief within DartPoints that you’ll see more sites to support that type of use, rather than just one or two central hubs in the state of Iowa.”