Google is to expand its data center footprint in the UK with a new campus outside London in Hertfordshire.

The search giant this week announced it has started building a new facility on a 33-acre site in Waltham Cross, north of London.

Google UK DC Render 08
– Google

Google purchased the land in the borough of Broxbourne in October 2020, and the company said it aims to invest $1 billion in the project. Details on facility location or specifications weren’t shared, but Google said the site would be “ready” for off-site heat recovery.

“People and organizations worldwide rely on Google’s data centers daily for the digital services they use,” said Ruth Porat, president & chief investment officer, chief financial officer of Alphabet and Google. “The Waltham Cross data center represents our latest investment in the UK and the wider digital economy at large.”

Porat continued: “This new data center will help meet growing demand for our AI and cloud services and bring crucial compute capacity to businesses across the UK while creating construction and technical jobs for the local community. Together with the UK government, we are working to make AI more helpful and accessible for people and organizations across the country.”

After announcing plans for a London region back in 2016, Google launched its UK GCP cloud region in July 2017. It is known as the ‘Europe-West2’ region; some reports have suggested it is hosted in Equinix facilities in Slough, but this hasn’t been confirmed. Europe-West2 suffered an outage during the Summer 2022 heatwave.

The company operates a data center in Dublin, Ireland, for its own use, as well as a number of self-built campuses and cloud regions across mainland Europe.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “The UK is a fantastic place to invest, and Google’s $1 billion investment is testament to the fact that the UK is a center of excellence in technology and has huge potential for growth.”

“Foreign investment creates jobs and grows all regions of our economy and investments like this will help to drive growth in the decade ahead. I will continue to back businesses to invest and innovate here in the UK.”

While east London’s Docklands is a notable hub, most data center developments on the outskirts of London are focused to the west around Slough, Hayes, and increasingly, Iver. However, a 600MW campus in nearby Havering has been proposed by developers, though it faces strong opposition.

Councillor Lewis Cocking, leader of Broxbourne Council said: “I am delighted that Google has chosen Broxbourne for its new data center. This is a sign of Broxbourne’s growing importance as a hub for technology and innovation. Through this development and others, this part of the borough is attracting millions of pounds of investment which will improve the local economy and create thousands of jobs. The Council is committed to working with our partners to make this, and other developments, a great success for everyone involved.”

Earlier this year, a company affiliated with Google acquired 129 acres of land in Essex previously earmarked for residential development. The company has yet to comment on the purchase.

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