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Metro fibre dig backs new Newcastle datacentre build

Newcastle campus datacentre owner supports the connectivity needs of local businesses as well as cloud customers

Newly opened datacentre business Stellium has completed work on a 40km metro fibre network dig in Newcastle-upon-Tyne to support its launch in the North East, and plans to offer surplus connectivity capacity to local businesses and the public sector.

The three-datacentre campus, which will be fully operational by the end of 2016, is built to BRE Environmental Assessment Method (Breeam) excellent and outstanding standards and has a power usage effectiveness (PUE) rating of 1.6.

It draws a dedicated power supply from a neighbouring National Grid interconnector, providing up to 80MVA over four 20MVA 11kV feeds from two dedicated substations.

The business is backed and run by Citadel100 Datacentres, euNetworks and Seafibre Networks founder Noel Meaney, and will offer wholesale colocation, hybrid and cloud rack-based services, and cloud solutions.

Meaney said the historical concentration of datacentres in places such as London and Amsterdam had come about thanks to those locations’ global internet exchange points, but the ability to provide dedicated low-latency connectivity between Newcastle and London would work in Stellium’s favour.

“Having a scalable, dedicated, high-capacity fibre link is, in itself, a means to an end in attracting customers,” he told Computer Weekly.

The carrier-neutral, multi-duct network supporting the new facility is the first of its kind in Newcastle and connects the campus to multiple long-haul and international carriers to give future clients high-capacity connectivity to London, and from there out into Europe and the rest of the world.

The nine-month dig was supported by the city council, which has been fully on board with the project, both in terms of attracting new businesses to the city and supporting its own connectivity ambitions.

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“Newcastle and the North East is a hotbed for digital innovation, and this announcement cements our position as the fastest-growing tech sector outside London,” said Newcastle City Council leader Nick Forbes.

“Combined with the £30m National Institute for Smart Data Innovation on Newcastle Science Central and world-leading and renowned research at our universities, having this kind of infrastructure will allow us to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the explosion in big data.

“These unique assets will provide access to new international markets, attract further investment, encourage business growth and help develop skills and create jobs of the future. I am delighted that Stellium is investing in our region, which adds to the air of excitement currently being generated around the North East’s tech scene.”

To support council sites and local businesses that are not taking space at its datacentres, Stellium has opened up a separate line of business to manage the network infrastructure – which could, in theory, be opened to internet service providers (ISPs) – and serve the needs of the local area.

“Datacentres are the hub of modern business operations and can no longer be viewed simply as a commodity,” said Meaney. “Instead, they have evolved to become a strategic business asset.

“To future-proof this asset, datacentres need guaranteed cost-effective power, modern agile engineering and high-capacity, resilient connectivity.

“They also need to be scalable, flexible and operationally robust. We have dedicated our resources to ensure that Stellium’s datacentres have all these attributes, as well as being part of a wider technology ecosystem.”

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