Google Readies $300M Expansion of Iowa Operations

Google is seeking tax incentives to expand its data center in Iowa, near where it recently sought permission to deploy an array of 4.5 meter satellite dishes like those pictured above. (Source: SETI Institute)

Google is considering a $300 million expansion of its operations in Council Bluffs, Iowa, near where it has filed for permission to deploy a field of satellite antennas. The potential expansion was revealed Friday by the Iowa Economic Development Authority, which has offered tax incentives to Google through the High Quality Jobs program.

Google previously built a data center in Council Bluffs, which opened in 2009. Two months ago Google filed with the FCC to place satellite antennas on land near the Council Bluffs data center. It’s not clear whether the new facilities would be an expansion of the data center or facilities to support its planned satellite antenna array, which could be used to receive content feeds from broadcast networks that could be bundled with a high-speed fiber service. In a state filing, Google said the development would involve “multi-building facilities” but offered no additional details.

If Google selects Iowa for this project, it would result in a $300 million capital investment within a five-year period on a 1,000-acre plot of land that Google owns in Council Bluffs, located about four miles from the site of the first phase of its data center. Google is also seeking a tax abatement on the land from local officials. The project would create a minimum of qualifying 35 new jobs.

Just a few hundred miles south of Council Bluffs is Kansas City. Two years ago Google announced an experimental high-speed fiber network and plans to award one city with Gigabit to the home service – for which Kansas City was ultimately selected. There has been a fair amount of speculation about video services that Google could package around the high speed offering in Kansas City.

The announcement about Google’s posible expansion came as a part of announcement about capital investment projects.   “It’s a great day for Iowa – it’s rewarding to see so many businesses choosing Iowa for their location, including a world-renowned company like Google,” said Governor Terry Branstad. “Although we are pleased to be a finalist, I am confident that in the end, Iowa will stand above the competition.”

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About the Author

John Rath is a veteran IT professional and regular contributor at Data Center Knowledge. He has served many roles in the data center, including support, system administration, web development and facility management.

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