No city is a backbone, but Vancouver could be considered a major Internet hub, being the main hub for Western Canada. It may not be a top tier hub, but it's a POP for:
aside from all the major Canadian providers, Limelight and Akamai, and possibly some others as well. I think Tata is here as well, but I'm not certain on that. Bandwidth in Vancouver is still more expensive than most other cities, costing anywhere from 2-10x more than major US hubs, but it's slowly loosening up as more and more networks are coming here. Cologix opened up a carrier neutral facility in Harbour Centre a few years ago, where a lot of the above networks are. We had a NANOG here a few years ago, and many more major networks are looking at setting up POPs here. Harbour Centre has been out of power for a while though, and it's been hard for them to get space here. Cologix has a new facility which should be completed in the Spring, which should bring even more transit options to Vancouver. I personally know of a few major transit providers who will be setting up POPs here, based on who's moving into the 6th floor meet-me-rooms, but was told in confidence and cannot share who they are.
There's also a new VanIX peering exchange forming here, which is basically a merger between PEER1's PIX and BCNet. There's fiber on 3 different routes to Seattle (3.5ms away), and fiber going east to Calgary, Toronto, etc. Metro (dark) fiber is also quite competitive here, if you work with the right providers.
For companies that do not wish to host their data in the US but do need good connectivity to it, Vancouver can be a good option. Otherwise, Seattle has more transit options and cheaper colo options for now.
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