Business

Is Facebook mystery builder of ‘most advanced data center in the world’?

Facebook could be building the “most technologically advanced data center in the world.” A report in the Des Moines Register cited “legislative sources” in confirming that Facebook intends to erect a 1.4 million square foot facility that could cost up to $1.5 billion in Altoona, Iowa.

This project is “one of the longest-running mysteries in the data center industry.” Over a year ago, a mystery company submitted a proposal to state and local officials for this project, which was referred to under the code name ‘Project Catapault.’ Facebook was suspected because the three building site plan resembles plans for Facebook’s data center projects in Oregon and North Carolina.

Altoona is developing into something of a hub for “data farms” because it meets a specific set of criteria. The area provides access to an extensive interstate fiber optic cable system, proximity to adequate power and water utilities, open and affordable land with low natural disaster risks, and convenient transportation access near major highways. Google and Microsoft both have data centers nearby.

According to the Register, officials are considering incentives for the project, like wind energy production tax credits and a new payment rate on water. This is Facebook’s fourth data center, with existing facilities in Oregoin, North Carolina, and Sweden. The runner-up site was Kearney, Nebraska, which apparently went to far as to approve $1.7 million to acquire land for the project, known there as “Project Edge.”

Photo Credit: Leonardo Rizzi/Flickr


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