Facebook and ICT Development


Facebook announced on Wednesday its plans to build a 30,000 sq m ‘green’ data centre in the small city of Lulea, Sweden. This is a significant move as the facility will be Facebook’s first outside of the US and will handle all data processing for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The city of Lulea won out after a lengthy selection process that saw Facebook engineers visit nearly 40 potential sites in Sweden alone.

There has been a strong trend towards building data centres in colder environments as it can cut costs substantially when natural air can be brought in as opposed to using air conditioners. Combined with an abundant supply of cheap hydro-electric power and a dense fiber network, Sweden is an ideal location for Facebook.

In many respects, Canada is well primed as a location for large data centres. Politically stable, fairly cheap power and, as any Canadian will attest, we certainly have the cold weather. However, one key factor that Canada is lacking compared to Sweden is the dense fiber network to transport data. In Vancouver, for example, moving data south of the border on a dedicated fiber connection is difficult. Unlike Australia’s National Broadband Network, Canada does not have a national broadband strategy which means it will be up to the private sector to sustain Canada’s information and communications technology (ICT) development.

a2b intends to be part of the solution to this problem, starting first with our 206km fiber build in Greater Vancouver. Canada is slipping in overall ICT development, falling ten positions between 2002 and 2007 in global ranking1. As a2b continues to expand we hope to partner with existing and planned data centres to provide dedicated connectivity. Here at a2b we firmly believe that our investment in ICT infrastructure will help attract new businesses to Canada and make our clients more competitive.


1 – Canada’s Foreign Ownership Rules and Regulations in the Telecommunications Sector, Report of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, June 2010

2 thoughts on “Facebook and ICT Development

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