What happens when tech datacenters move to small towns? We asked four experts to weigh in on the potential economic and social impacts.
Checkout this video:
The Migration of Tech Datacenters
The migration of tech datacenters has been a growing trend in recent years. Small towns offer a variety of benefits for datacenters, including lower costs, access to renewable energy, and a cooler climate. This trend is likely to continue as datacenters become larger and more complex.
The Appeal of Small Towns
The allure of small towns is evident. They offer a lower cost of living, access to a highly skilled workforce and quality of life that is appealing to tech workers. In addition, small towns are often more welcoming to tech companies than larger cities. This is due to the fact that small towns are typically less competitive when it comes to attracting new businesses.
The migration of tech datacenters to small towns is a trend that is likely to continue. This is due to the numerous advantages that small towns have to offer tech companies.
The Challenges of Small Towns
The migration of tech datacenters to small towns presents a number of challenges for both the companies and the communities involved.
First, there is the issue of power. These datacenters require a lot of electricity, and small towns often don’t have the infrastructure to support that demand. This can lead to blackouts or brownouts, which can be disruptive for both the datacenter and the surrounding community.
Second, there is the issue of cooling. Datacenters generate a lot of heat, and they need to be cooled in order to function properly. This can be a challenge in small towns, where there may not be enough space or resources to properly cool the datacenter.
Third, there is the issue of connectivity. Datacenters need to be connected to the internet in order to function properly. This can be a challenge in small towns, where internet connectivity may be limited or non-existent.
Fourth, there is the issue of security. Datacenters contain sensitive data, and they need to be protected from physical and cyber threats. This can be a challenge in small towns, where there may not be enough security personnel or resources to properly protect the datacenter.
Finally, there is the issue of cost. Datacenters are expensive to build and operate, and small towns often don’t have the resources to cover those costs. This can lead to financial hardship for both the datacenter and the surrounding community.
The Impact on Small Towns
It’s no secret that big tech companies have been moving their datacenters to small towns in search of cheaper land and lower electric rates. But what’s the impact of this trend on the people who live in these small towns? Some say it’s a boon to the local economy, while others worry about the effect on the environment and quality of life. Let’s take a closer look.
The Economic Impact
The effects of a datacenter on a small town can be both positive and negative. The most often cited benefit is the influx of high-paying jobs. Amazon, for example, has pledged to create at least 25,000 full-time jobs with an average salary of more than $150,000 per year in the communities where it builds its datacenters.
Other benefits include an increase in tax revenue and ancillary construction and service jobs. For example, when Facebook built a datacenter in Forest City, North Carolina, the company committed to purchasing 10 MW of power from a local utility company. This $1 billion investment led to the construction of a new substation and 100 miles (160 km) of new transmission lines.
The negative effects of datacenters on small towns are less often discussed but can be significant. These effects include increased traffic and congestion, noise pollution, light pollution, and water consumption. They also can lead to higher prices for housing and other services.
The Social Impact
When a datacenter moves into a small town, the social impact can be both positive and negative. On the one hand, the datacenter brings high-paying jobs to the area. This can have a ripple effect, boosting the local economy and leading to the development of new businesses. On the other hand, the influx of workers can put strain on local resources, such as housing and infrastructure. This can lead to rising prices and gentrification, making it difficult for longtime residents to stay in their homes.
The Infrastructure Impact
The first and most obvious impact is the demand for infrastructure to support the data center. This can be a challenge for small towns that are not used to this level of development. The data center will need access to a reliable power supply, high-speed internet, and possibly additional water and sewer capacity.
The data center will also generate a lot of traffic, both vehicular and pedestrian. This can put strain on already limited resources such as parking and roads. To mitigate these impacts, data center developers typically work with local officials to create a plan that includes things like traffic studies and construction timetables.