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Leeds to become home to a new £43m independent datacentre in 2013

Archana Venkatraman

Leeds City Council authorities have approved the construction of a network-neutral datacentre worth £43m to improve the internet connectivity and network infrastructure in the region.

The datacentre called DC4, will have a floor-space of around 120,000ft2 over two six-storey buildings, and will become the UK’s largest independent datacentre outside London.

It will be a carrier-neutral datacentre, which means it is independent of a network, software or hardware supplier and that multiple Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will be able to take part in the datacentre, providing best value for businesses using the datacentre.

The IT facility will be built early next year by telecommunications company aql at a 3.14-hectare brownfield site in Hunslet, formerly the location of Leeds’ Yorkshire Chemicals plant.

The new datacentre to become the premise for Leeds’ superfast broadband pledge

“The new DC4 site will allow expansion room to support the data growth from the IT, media and mobile sectors – including the huge demands which 4G will place on the region’s infrastructure,” said aql’s founder and chief executive Adam Beaumont.

DC4 will be a large datacentre capable of housing 2,440 server racks serving the entire region.

The server racks will provide enough space for many of the larger ISPs to establish a firm and competitive presence in Leeds, according to aql.

Because it is carrier-neutral, DC4 will bring improved internet connectivity and network infrastructure to Leeds, benefiting both businesses and people in the city and the surrounding areas.

 “This project will put Leeds, and Yorkshire as a whole, in a very strong position to fulfill their superfast broadband promise,” said Adam Beaumont.

Sustainability factor of the new datacentre

The new facility will be a sustainable and energy-efficient datacentre.

Excess heat produced by the datacentre will be recycled and used to heat nearby buildings, and the land surrounding the site will be redeveloped and landscaped to create green spaces and civic amenities for local residents.

DC4 has the potential to make a huge impact on Leeds’ infrastructure and economy, and could help define the city as a major hub for digital business, according to Lurene Joseph, chief executive of Leeds and Partners, the agency responsible for attracting investment to the city.

“The new datacentre is another key milestone for Leeds as we work to make the city a centre of excellence across all aspects of digital technology,” said Lurene Joseph.


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