Northern Virginia is a hub for data centers, with almost double the capacity compared to any other U.S. market. According to Data Center Dynamics (DCD) Magazine, experts think it’s time to start spreading capacity across the Commonwealth of Virginia to alleviate the congestion in the north. One of the ways to address the diversity challenge is to bring in more fiber from outside the state.
Until recently, the closest East Coast fiber landfall was 300 miles away in New Jersey. However, Virginia Beach, in the southern part of the Commonwealth, has become a fiber landing point. Telxius built a submarine cable called Marea (Spanish for tide), stretching across the Atlantic from Virginia Beach to Bilbao in Northern Spain. Another cable built by the same company runs from Virginia Beach to Rio de Janeiro, Fortaleza, and San Juan.
The arrival of this additional submarine fiber is enabling faster transmission capacity.
Authorities in Virginia Beach are priming the pump with an incentive: sales tax on power, cooling, and IT equipment have been dropped to 0.4 percent, and less expensive land prices are also in its favor, reported DCD.
Earlier in 2019, Digital Realty bought a 13-acre plot in Ashburn, Northern Virginia, for a record $2.14 million per acre. In Richmond, Facebook has invested $1.75 billion in a 970,000 sq ft (90,000 sq m) data center, which already has a 1.5 million sq ft expansion planned. Also, in Richmond, QTS opened a 1.3 m sq ft (120,000 sq m) data center a decade ago. DCD reported that two more cables are planned for Virginia Beach: Google’s Dunant cable, connecting to the west coast of France, and the South Atlantic Express cable being built by SAEx, which starts in Cape Town, South Africa. Telxius announced in October 2019 that it would connect Virginia Beach to New Jersey – the first direct fiber between two landing stations, a useful extra route for intercontinental traffic, and a solution that creates redundancy.
According to Microsoft, who’s investing in Marea, “We were hit with the outages when Hurricane Sandy rolled through the Northeast of the U.S. in 2012. Because of this, we saw a huge need to bring additional diversity to the East coast.”
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