aql (company)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

aql is a telecommunications company based in Leeds, UK. It is principally known for operating carrier neutral data centres, and for providing services relating to colocation, mobile messaging, IP telephony, and secure mobile connectivity for the internet of things (IoT).[1]

The company's head office is located at the historic Salem Chapel in Hunslet, Leeds.[2]

FounderProfessor Adam Beaumont
Hunslet, Leeds, West Yorkshire
Key people
Professor Adam Beaumont
Managing Director
Andy Wainwright

Company history[edit]

aql head office, Salem Chapel, Leeds
A mast in Hunslet, Leeds, in 2018, broadcasting internet optically from one of aql's Leeds data centres to the Greenhouse block of flats.

aql was founded in 1998 by former University of Leeds lecturer and Ministry of Defence communications specialist Professor Adam Beaumont[3][4][5] as a domain name registrar and email and web hosting company.[6][7]

By 2003, aql had expanded into wholesale telecommunications, supplying UK phone numbers to the broadband industry to support IP telephony/VoIP services,[6] providing mobile messaging services and supplying wholesale messaging platforms to international and UK networks. The company is responsible for more than 94 million numbers on 42 different telecoms networks. It also hosts 40 million UK numbers for voice services.[4]

Beaumont purchased Salem Chapel in 2009.[8][9] The Grade II listed building was renovated and restored to house aql's head office, including two data centres, an exhibition space and a conference facility.[5][10]

The firm had a turnover of £7 million and employed around 40 people in 2013.[5]

Also in 2013, aql announced plans to invest £43 million to build a data centre on the former site of Yorkshire Chemicals in Hunslet, Leeds.[5][11]

The company acquired a 57,000 sq ft former council building located at South Point, Leeds for around half a million pounds in 2015. The company announced plans to convert the site into another data centre.[4]

In September 2015, aql purchased Isle of Man-based BlueWave Communications following the death of its founder, former The Apprentice contestant Stuart Baggs.[12][13]

In March 2017, aql won the contract to serve the UK's universities, colleges and teaching hospitals with secure data storage via a framework contract operated by Jisc.[14][15]

aql unveiled its first autonomous vehicle in April 2018, and announced a consortium of partners, including Gulf Oil, the University of Leeds, Leeds and Bradford city councils, Citu and CitiPark, to trial the vehicles in Leeds.[16]


Since 2011, one of aql's Salem Chapel data centres has housed the Leeds internet exchange, IXLeeds. IXLeeds is the UK's only fully independent internet exchange outside London.[5][17][18] Beaumont co-founded the exchange, and serves as company secretary.[19]

Leeds' WiFi telephone boxes[edit]

In 2013, aql reconditioned 24 Giles Gilbert Scott-designed red telephone boxes.[20] The boxes were painted blue, converted into solar-powered free WiFi access points, and placed around Leeds city centre.[21]

The boxes are known as Leeds Electronic Ordnance and Digital Information System, or LEODIS, after the old English name for the city of Leeds.[21]

In July 2017, aql announced that the initiative had seen 100,000 unique users since its introduction.[22]

Sponsorship and local support[edit]

In May 2017, aql was announced as the Communications Sponsor for Lendy Cowes Week 2017.[23] In addition to sponsoring the event, aql competed in the 50-nautical mile race around the Isle of Wight. CEO Adam Beaumont was joined at the helm by blind sailor Lucy Hodges MBE.[24][25] In June 2018 it was announced that aql had struck a 5-year deal[26] to continue sponsoring the event.

Also in May 2017, aql was among the local companies to offer support and financial backing to Leeds' bid to become European Capital of Culture 2023.[27][28]

Since 2000, aql has sponsored a live webcam overlooking Millennium Square, Leeds.[29]

The company is a patron of Leeds Community Foundation.[30]


  1. ^ "A cyber city dream for Leeds". Retrieved 2017-12-04.
  2. ^ "Tech giant aql hosts first Digital Leaders event out of the capital". Retrieved 2017-08-23.
  3. ^ Baron, John (2010-02-26). "Superfast broadband trial". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-08-23.
  4. ^ a b c "AQL expands data centre campus with ex-council building". Retrieved 2017-08-23.
  5. ^ a b c d e "Profile: Adam Beaumont". Retrieved 2017-08-23.
  6. ^ a b "Northern Growth Accelerators project with Sarah Tulip of aql". Yorkshire. 2017-08-24. Retrieved 2017-08-24.
  7. ^ "Professor Adam Beaumont, Eden Trustee". Retrieved 2017-09-15.
  8. ^ "Where did it all start for Leeds United?". Time Out Leeds. Retrieved 2017-08-24.
  9. ^ "aql: The History of Salem Chapel, aql Head Office and data centre - Data Centre Alliance". Retrieved 2017-08-23.
  10. ^ "Salem Chapel events space" (PDF).
  11. ^ "Leeds to host £43m data hub |". Yorkshire. 2012-11-23. Retrieved 2017-08-23.
  12. ^ "Firm owned by Apprentice star Baggs bought by Leeds company". Retrieved 2017-08-23.
  13. ^ "AQL buys company after death of Apprentice star |". Yorkshire. 2015-09-23. Retrieved 2017-08-23.
  14. ^ "Digitalisation World". Retrieved 2017-08-24.
  15. ^ News, Bdaily Business. "aql's new datacentre to make Leeds 'a hub for digital development in the North'". Bdaily Business News. Retrieved 2017-08-24.
  16. ^ News, Bdaily Business. "Plans unveiled to trial 'super-connected' self-driving PODs in Leeds city centre". Bdaily Business News. Retrieved 2018-06-08.
  17. ^ "Digital Economy Recovery Report" (PDF).
  18. ^ "An IXP in Leeds?" (PDF).
  19. ^ "IXLeeds, Leeds Internet Exchange". Retrieved 2017-08-24.
  20. ^ "Leeds to get Doctor Who-style phone boxes with free Wi-Fi". CNET. Retrieved 2017-08-23.
  21. ^ a b "Leeds Is Invaded By Curious Blue Phone Boxes | BBC America". BBC America. Retrieved 2017-08-23.
  22. ^ aql (18 July 2017). "Did you know.. our #scifiwifi free #Leeds #wifi network has had over 100,000 unique users since we installed it. And many regular users !". @aqldotcom. Retrieved 2017-09-14.
  23. ^ Limited, Cowes Week. "aql Announced as Communications Sponsor for Cowes Week". Retrieved 2017-08-23.
  24. ^ "Sailing star steers aql into their first year at Cowes Week |". Yorkshire. 2017-08-11. Retrieved 2017-08-23.
  25. ^ "Yorkshire man and crew raising funds for Blind Sailing in Round the Island". Yachts and Yachting Online. Retrieved 2017-08-23.
  26. ^ "AQL STRIKES 5-YEAR SPONSORSHIP DEAL WITH LENDY COWES WEEK - Island Echo - 24hr news, 7 days a week across the Isle of Wight". Island Echo - 24hr news, 7 days a week across the Isle of Wight. 2018-06-08. Retrieved 2018-11-29.
  27. ^ "Big corporate names support city's bid to become European Capital of Culture". Retrieved 2017-08-24.
  28. ^ "£100,000 boost for Leeds Capital of Culture bid as more sponsors line up". Yorkshire. 2017-05-17. Retrieved 2017-08-24.
  29. ^ "Pages - Millennium Cam". Retrieved 2017-09-14.
  30. ^ "Membership List". Retrieved 2017-12-04.

External links[edit]