His Majesty The King of the Netherlands speaks to i3D.net on impact Coronavirus

A screenshot of the Video Call with His Majesty The King of The Netherlands
20 January 2021

His Majesty The King Willem-Alexander participated in a half an hour video-call on January 20th 2021 with i3D.net Founder and Managing Director Stijn Koster. He was joined by 3 other representatives from the industry on the developments in the digital infrastructure. The call focused on how the Dutch digital infrastructure handles the increase in volume and the associated reliability and security demands during this coronavirus pandemic.

During the call King Willem Alexander and the representatives discussed the pain points, opportunities and threats for our digital infrastructure and the effects the coronavirus pandemic can have on the (digital) economy of the Netherlands.

Since the coronavirus outbreak, Internet usage in the Netherlands went up by an estimated 10% as video conferencing became staples in virtually everyone’s daily lives. However, the attention of cybercriminals has also moved to small and medium-sized businesses and people working from home. These opportunities and challenges were a primary focus of the call with His Majesty The King.

During the coronavirus pandemic, i3D.net has not just kept up with this growth in traffic. In fact, we even exceed the average growth of our physical points of presence (PoPs). Our PoPs grew from an average of 4-5 per year to 7 in 2020 with an additional 8 planned for this year bringing the total to 57. This growth is notable considering all the challenges associated with limitations enacted to fight the coronavirus. For us that’s just another day at work and all made possible by the awesome teams at i3D.net and our partners.

By 2025, our goal is to serve 1 billion people with our infrastructure. We currently serve about 300 million end-users through game hosting and WebRTC solutions, but a focus on education networks is necessary during the coronavirus pandemic.

We are currently present at 70 internet exchange junctions of which 4 are in the Netherlands itself. That means we are very internationally oriented, which is in keeping with the historical Dutch entrepreneurial spirit. We don’t just serve the Western world; we also provide communication infrastructure in difficult to reach regions like Africa, Asia, the Middle East and South America. You could call us the United Nations of the Internet in that sense. Since the whole world is facing the consequences of this pandemic, we take our role as infrastructure provider very seriously.

The Netherlands itself has an above average amount of data centers and network infrastructure, more than required for just 17 million people. Everyone in the Netherlands can take advantage of this because our internet connection and hosted services are low-cost and high-quality.

In order to do so, we need to ensure that our power distribution, the climate for establishing business from abroad and the volume and diversity of internet connectivity remain high. That is what makes the Netherlands such a competitive country within the new age of digital economies.

Many countries are vying for that position and putting IT at the forefront of their economy. For example, within the United States IT is considered a vital profession. In the Netherlands, this is (not yet) the case. That puts us at a disadvantage, since non-vital professions have to deal with all kinds of restrictions in the Netherlands that they do not in a country like the United States. Within the call this was identified as one way to keep our standing in the world especially during this pandemic. Another point of discussion on the call was that data centers and hosting should rather be under Dutch legislation than controlled by foreign entities.

This call with His Majesty The King was a great reminder that companies that build and create the digital infrastructure have an important economic role within the Netherlands and the world. Everyone is counting on us during this coronavirus pandemic to ensure that we support our customers and end-users now that they are relying on us to keep their business and human connections going. Not just now, but also well after this pandemic disappears.

Main Take-Aways

The coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on our daily lives. In a call with His Majesty The King of the Netherlands, our Founder Stijn Koster discussed pain points, opportunities and threats for our digital infrastructure and the effects the coronavirus pandemic can have on the (digital) economy of the Netherlands.