Amazon Said to Be Mulling Data Center Construction in Italy

Company reportedly eyeing old power plants for conversion to data centers

Yevgeniy Sverdlik

July 22, 2016

1 Min Read
Amazon Said to Be Mulling Data Center Construction in Italy
Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)

In addition to its plan to build a €150 million storage and logistics center outside of Rome, Amazon is considering building data centers in Italy on the sites of retired power plants, Reuters reported citing two anonymous sources.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was reportedly expected to meet with Italy’s prime minister, Matteo Renzi, in Florence Friday to discuss the online retailer and cloud giant’s big planned investments in the country. The series of investments would total €500 million or more.

Amazon is one of the companies interested in buying three old power stations from the government-controlled utility Enel, the utility’s CEO, Francesco Starace, said earlier.

Power stations make for good mega-data center sites because a lot of the electrical and mechanical infrastructure can be adapted to data center use. Google, for example, is building a data center on the site of an old power plant in Alabama.

Enel is a key player in Renzi’s plan to improve residential broadband connectivity in the country, which ranks last in the European Union for internet usage. The utility will reportedly build new fibre-optic infrastructure along its electrical transmission lines.

Currently, Amazon Web Services, the Seattle-based company’s cloud arm, has data centers in two European countries: Ireland and Germany. An Amazon data center in the UK is in the works.

Although Italy is the EU’s fourth-largest economy, it isn’t known for a big and active data center market, at least not as big and active as places like London, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, or Dublin. One recent expansion into Italy by a major US data center company is a project by Las Vegas-based Switch in the Milan area.

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