Hunter Newby doesn't claim to have invented the Meet-Me Room, but he created one of the first, in the iconic and historical Manhattan facility, 60 Hudson Street, in about 1998
At the time data centers had separate connections from multiple carriers, and linking between those carriers meant running a link between their connection points - and paying them heavily. Hunter set up a room where the networks all met up for physical (layer 0) connections - and the rest is history.
It's a well-documented history because he went on to write a series of magazine articles "Meet Me In New York", "Meet Me In Chicago" etc, about interconnection facilities in major US cities. That series is archived on his site, alongside live data of connections for each of those cities from the open peering resource, PeeringDB.
Today, there are still not enough Meet-Me rooms. Some US states with large cloud facilities don't have nearby carrier hotels, so local user traffic has to go out to a city like Chicago and back. Hunter wants to foster neutral carrier hotels where there are none.
Why is 60 Hudson Street the Ellis Island of the Internet? And did Hunter ever write "Meet Me In St Louis"?
Listen in, and meet Hunter Newby...