Microsoft’s new $1.1 billion data center is changing the broadband landscape in West Des Moines, Iowa. This is the second such data center in the area, the first beginning construction in 2009. Powering applications like Cloud and XBOX Live, the data center demands extensive broadband capacity and the City of West Des Moines is rising to the challenge.
West Des Moines is Iowa’s third Connected Certified Community, receiving certification in October, 2013. Since quantifying the broadband availability in the area and bolstering support, West Des Moines continues to grow as a technology city. With enough broadband capacity to support one of the world’s leading technology conglomerates, city leaders expect the developments to bring in other technology companies, new business and new residents.
“We’re working with Microsoft to connect the data centers,” said Clyde Evans, West Des Moines’s director of community and economic development, and bring in new data carriers to the area to provide the redundancy and reliability that the data center requires to stay online at all times. “It’s going to be a big deal for us in the future. An area that didn’t have broadband at all will now have redundancy there.”
The first data center in West Des Moines, located on Grand Avenue, is now in phase 3 of development. The new data center off of Iowa Highway 5 will be four times larger, covering 154 acres and amounting to approximately 1 million square feet across the new buildings, with even more capabilities and faster connections than the first. The new data center also promises new jobs in the area, making West Des Moines’ telecommuter readiness programs even more important.
Other area institutions are collaborating with the West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce to discuss how to ready the business community for tomorrow’s workplace. Leaders in finance, real estate, insurance and healthcare businesses are working to introduce new infrastructure to other areas to allow residents to telecommute to their jobs.
“Broadband is very important to them in terms of connectivity,” said Evans. “That issue has come up on the City Council’s radar and we continue to strive to make broadband available for businesses and people in the community.”
West Des Moines is also addressing the digital divide and working with Iowa Network Services (INS), a partnership of area telecommunications companies, to make affordable broadband available to low- and middle-income families in the original downtown area. From infrastructure partnerships with the largest and leading technology companies to individual coverage for the residents that operate them, West Des Moines continues to pioneer new broadband development in Iowa.
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