Powering a connected society
aql is one of the UK’s most innovative telecoms operators and a ‘hidden enabler’ of the smart city. Working across messaging, voice, data centre, connectivity and M2M & IoT, aql securely connects people, organisations and things to make society better.
Our wholesale focus means we usually serve the end customer in partnership with other technology suppliers, such as systems integrators, specialist telecommunications operators and internet service providers.
We also supply direct to larger enterprise who manage the integration function in-house. We have almost 20 years' experience in the integration of our services to help streamline B2B and B2C communications. We strive to serve the accelerated digital needs of global businesses.
Our goal is to help businesses and cities keep pace with the latest technological changes by leveraging the power of high bandwidth, secure storage, mobile connectivity and innovation. We are at the heart of smart city initiatives, from the secure SIM cards embedded in remote devices to providing data centre space for e-health, logistics and security sectors.
aql believes that by Powering a Connected Society through our enabling technology, we can create more efficient, smarter, more resilient cities. We do this to build a better future for all.
We provide the scaleable, developer-friendly engine to your connected data projects. See what we do for others.
We make lives better, connected
aql was founded by mobile security specialist Prof. Adam Beaumont in 1998 at the beginning of the “internet boom” as a domain name registrar and email and web hosting company.
By mid-2000, aql was listed in the top 3% of registries (sales by volume of .uk domain names, source: Nominet UK annual statistics 2000-03). This position enabled the company to invest heavily in telecoms infrastructure expansion, entering the mobile messaging market in 1999, with direct connections to the UK mobile network providers.
Further expansion into wholesale telecommunications in 2003 allowed us to create a full telecommunications network capable of supplying UK telephone numbering to the broadband industry to fulfil the growing demand for broadband voice “VoIP/IP Telephony" services.
aql now hosts close to 90 million telephone numbers for the UK IP telephony industry and is one of the largest wholesale operators in the UK. If you have a UK broadband telephone service, it's very likely the traffic is managed by aql somewhere in the food chain.
We're dedicated to building intrinsic value in our business. Since 2006, we have been investing our profits in our own data centre infrastructure in the heart of Leeds, complementing our presence in London and Manchester. Over the past decade, we have built four high-security carrier neutral facilities to deliver our solutions and to not only help us control our cost-of-delivery, but allow us to scale in an agile manner.
Our second city centre data centre was built in 2010 and became the main hub for traffic in and out of the North of England, including the main terabit node for the Janet UK network.
We now have four data centres in Leeds with a total footprint of 500 racks, and are embarking on the next 1000 racks of data centre space. Our carrier neutrality (meaning we do not impose any barriers to entry to any fibre operators) means we have every single fibre provider available in the region with a presence in our data centres. We are also home to IXLeeds - the mutual, not-for-profit internet exchange.
IXLeeds is one of three standalone internet exchanges in the UK and is the only exchange of its kind outside of London.
We have an experienced board with a strong emphasis on security and an understanding of how the internet has evolved into a critical delivery platform for all businesses with a digital need.
Prof. Adam Beaumont
Founder and CEO
As an ex-lecturer at the University of Leeds and a communications specialist within the MoD, Adam is a consistent innovator and technologist with a strong cyber security background. In 1998, he created telecommunications platform company, aql, identifying a need for software systems to be able to communicate with customers seamlessly.
His focus is on building scalable, automated systems, with aql now hosting many tens of millions of phone numbers and providing messaging and communication services to leading banks, retail, logistics, healthcare and education. He’s created enabling services which are used by some of San Francisco’s biggest tech success stories.
Over the past decade, he has also built and deployed the main datacentres in the region and created the main internet exchange for the North of the UK, putting the region on the global “internet map” and allowing the region to become digitally resilient, providing the main hub for Northern global connectivity.
He's a patron, trustee and governor - focusing on supporting organisations which involving inspiring the next generation to be passionate about science and technology. Adam is a strong advocate of the Northern Powerhouse and the opportunities it creates through collaboration and communication. Adam has hosted and supported key events in the evolution of the Northern Powerhouse at aql’s restored Grade II listed historic city centre venue. He’s a tireless connector and collaborator.
His support also extends to investments – an active angel investor with a portfolio spanning healthcare, education, collaboration tools, and technology for social change. He also founded the not-for-profit investment platform NorthInvest which drives co-investment in startups across the North of the UK.
Ben joined the aql board in 2015, Ben started out in the chemical industry, first at ICI Hillhouse as a Junior Network Technician and then for Ellis & Everard as a Senior Network Technician, where he worked throughout the UK, US and Europe at a time when the company was just starting to link its sites together.
He was then asked to join telecoms startup OnCue Telecommunications, one of the first providers to unbundle copper lines in the UK. After OnCue was acquired by Business Serve, Ben moved to Thus as Network Design Manager.
Thus was subsequently acquired by Cable and Wireless and Ben stayed on as Head of Network Design for the combined company's Broadband Access business and then as Design Manager for the IP&Data business, before Cable and Wireless was (in a running theme) acquired by Vodafone.
Chris previously worked at KPMG in the Transactions Services team, where he was involved with the flotation of moneysupermarket.com. After leaving KPMG, he spent time in Monaco as Head of Finance at Thalassa Holdings, playing a key role in listing the company on the Alternative Investment Market of the London Stock Exchange.
In 2009, Chris founded his own accountancy and advisory business and now spends a large part of his time advising businesses how to implement and develop growth strategies, assisting with company acquisitions and disposals and representing finance teams at board-level.
Chris is married with two children. Outside work, he's a keen runner and skier and has a passion for sailing.