Carrier-Neutral (or Network-Neutral) is a term used to describe datacentres where customers can select from a wide range of network providers to provide internet or other connectivity services.
In a non-carrier-neutral datacentre, you will be limited to a very small number of providers who have a direct relationship with the datacentre's owner. In some cases, this may only be one or two providers (or possibly even just the owner of the datacentre themselves).
Why does this matter?
In a non-carrier-neutral datacentre, the choice of providers available to you will be fewer, and therefore the price of your data connectivity will be significantly higher and /or the flexibility of services available will be poorer.
If all you're looking for is internet connectivity, then this may not be a problem for you.
However, most organisations choose datacentre hosting because it offers a convenient way to provide high-performance network access to critical systems to staff at a number of different offices. If this is you, then you may need to bring an MPLS network connection into the datacentre, or layer 2 connectivity to another datacentre or site. If your current provider of those services doesn't already have a relationship with your datacentre provider, then costs and installation lead times may be much higher and longer than you expect.
To put this into perspective, 1Gb/s of connectivity into a carrier neutral datacentre in the UK in mid 2019 would be priced around £150 / month with install fees in the region of £500. In a non carrier neutrial datacentre, expect to pay 2-3 times that figure, with install fees of £3,000.
If you're conisdering using a datacentre to house your critical IT or telecomms systems, clarify early in the negotiation process whether they are carrier neutral.
Ask them before you sign any agreement for a list of the carriers who have presence in their facility, and approach those carriers for pricing before making a final decision.
If you need help selecting datacentres or connectivity providers, please contact us.