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Google to invest $1 billion in UK data centre

by Jessica Weisman-Pitts
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2024 01 18T180847Z 1 LYNXMPEK0H0T7 RTROPTP 4 CHILE TELECOMS GOOGLE

Google to invest $1 billion in UK data centre

By Zaheer Kachwala

(Reuters) -Google will invest $1 billion on building a data centre just outside of London, the U.S. technology giant said on Thursday, in its latest investment in Britain as it meets growing demand for internet services in the region.

The data centre, located on a 33-acre (13-hectare) site bought by Google in 2020, will be located in the town of Waltham Cross, about 15 miles north of central London, the Alphabet-owned company said in a statement.

The British government, which is pushing for investment by businesses to help fund new infrastructure, particularly in growth industries like technology and artificial intelligence, described Google’s investment as a “huge vote of confidence” in the UK.

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

The investment follows Google’s $1 billion purchase of a central London office building in 2022, close to Covent Garden, and another site in nearby King’s Cross, where it is building a new office and where its AI company DeepMind is also based.

It also comes weeks after Microsoft unveiled plans to pump 2.5 billion pounds ($3.2 billion) into Britain over three years, including in growing its data centre capacity, to underpin future AI services.

“This new data centre 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,” Alphabet Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat said in the statement.

Google, which employs over 7,000 people in Britain, also said that waste heat generated from the data centre would be an opportunity for energy conservation that can benefit the local community.

($1 = 0.7881 pound)

(Reporting by Zaheer Kachwala in Bengaluru and Sachin Ravikumar in London; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri, Maju Samuel and Jonathan Oatis)