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Looking at how it can further meet evolving business and consumer needs for advanced networking services, digital infrastructure company Equinix has confirmed its continuing commitment to growing its datacentre capacity in the UK by expanding two of its International Business Exchange (IBX) sites in London and Manchester.
The expansion of the LD7 and LD8 sites in the capital and the new MA5 datacentre in the Northern Powerhouse represents an investment of £179m, and brings Equinix’s total investment in the UK’s digital infrastructure to more than £1bn.
Explaining the reasons for the expansion of its resources, Equinix noted that in an increasingly dynamic world, including competitive pressures, growing customer demands, globalisation, and challenges posed by Covid-19 and Brexit, many businesses are accelerating their digital transformation efforts and prioritising the adoption of hybrid multi-cloud services. In response, Equinix said it will continue to invest in the UK’s interconnection capabilities to help organisations adopt future-proof digital strategies and expand their global opportunities.
The extensions to LD7 (Slough Campus) and LD8 (London’s Docklands) are designed to help financial market participants continue to interconnect on a global scale. According to UK government data, in 2020, the financial services sector contributed £164.8bn to the UK economy, 8.6% of the total economic output. The sector was largest in London, where half of its output was generated.
The Equinix Slough campus is said to be one of the busiest network nodes in the UK, and offers latency of sub-60 milliseconds to New York. This, said Equinix, makes it an ideal high-performance hub for electronic trading, as well as cloud and content service provision.
Manchester is the UK’s third-largest city, and the biggest economy in Northern England. It’s also Europe’s second-largest creative, digital and media hub, home to MediaCity UK, one of the world’s most advanced media centres and home to the BBC’s headquarters.
The city is a fast-growing technology hub, noted for eCommerce and an emerging startup ecosystem, and provides low-latency connectivity on network routes to the US, with access to international subsea cables via Ireland and the West of England. The MA5 site will be configured to deliver premium colocation and long-term capacity for customers, and is suitable for high-density deployments. The datacentre provides access to Equinix Fabric, Equinix Internet Exchange and Network Edge nodes, making it an attractive interconnection hub and remote geo-redundant deployment location for London.
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As it was announcing the investment, the company also released its Global interconnection index (GXI) 2023 market study, forecasting that in London alone, overall interconnection bandwidth – the measure of private connectivity for the transfer of data between organisations – is expected to achieve a 43% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) by 2025, as the fastest growing core metro. This projected growth is due to be driven by a combination of network and financial services demand for capacity.
Furthermore, the company noted that its Equinix 2022 global tech trends survey revealed the majority of UK digital leaders (64%) believe the UK is a trailblazer in technological innovation, with 57% of 2021’s respondents suggesting that, globally, London is one of the best cities to do business in. Almost eight out of 10 (79%) respondents expect the UK will remain a world-leading international business hub.
“Our commitment to expanding the UK’s digital infrastructure caters to the increasing number of enterprises requiring ultra-low-latency connectivity, both here and internationally,” said Equinix UK managing director Russell Poole. “This further investment will help to maintain the nation’s position as a strategic digital business hub for enterprises looking to compete on a global scale.
“The location of these datacentres complements the growth of the UK’s two biggest cities. Manchester is one of Europe’s fastest growing business centres for technology and media, while London is a long-established financial centre of the world. Despite Brexit-born uncertainty, there are many reasons to be optimistic about digital transformation and technology investment in the UK.”
As well as underpinning the UK’s position as a hub for global business, Equinix said datacentres were delivering multiple career opportunities, including roles that coincide with initiatives to attract new talent and tackle gender inequality in the tech sector.
“We are hoping to attract more female talent into the industry,” said Lorraine Wilkinson, Equinix UK vice-president of sales.
“We know through anecdotal feedback that many candidates can be put off applying for tech roles as they believe they don’t have the right skillset. Our initiative helps women recognise that, although they may lack technical training, they hold many extremely valuable and transferable skills that make them ideal employees. Today, less than a quarter of IT and tech roles are filled by women, with any meaningful progress to address the imbalance being frustratingly slow.”
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