Coleraine is site for first commercial data centre
Global firm 5NINES has opened Northern Ireland's first commercial data centre in Co Londonderry four years after its site was selected as an enterprise zone.
The opening of the centre for data storage in Coleraine - part of a £20m investment - comes after then Chancellor George Osborne announced its location as Northern Ireland's first enterprise zone in 2014.
BT already operates a data centre in Belfast for public sector IT services.
5NINE'S facility makes it the first tenant at the new Atlantic Link Enterprise Campus and enterprise zone - close to the landing point of the Project Kelvin transatlantic fibre optic cables.
Paul Besley, general manager of 5NINES NI, said: "This truly is a world-class facility for Northern Ireland, providing highly-efficient and exceptionally secure data storage. At a time when people and businesses are producing and consuming vast quantities of data, the security of that information has never been more important, especially following the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
"This centre allows all data to be collected, stored and processed locally from a purpose-built modern facility."
He said the centre could offer flexibility to clients as it was not tied to a particular telecoms provider. "Also, being located with the Project Kelvin transatlantic cable gives our customers access to the fastest connectivity to the USA for any UK data centre."
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He said sectors like fintech, pharmaceutical research and cyber-security all required the level of storage provided from a data centre.
The centre is covered by CCTV, with all systems backed up to ensure there is "virtually no chance" of an outage, he continued.
5NINES owns data centres across the world, including in the Netherlands, Finland, France and the United States.
Brenda Chivers, Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, said: "The opening of the 5NINES data centre marks a significant milestone in the development of the Atlantic Link Enterprise Campus.
"As the first enterprise zone to be established in Northern Ireland, the ground-breaking campus is ideally placed to realise our vision for creating a digital and creative economy for home-grown businesses and international investment."
And she said she hoped it would be the first of many tenants "as they take advantage of the tax benefits, beyond the existing business advantage".
Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Ann McGregor also welcomed the development.
"It is good to see a business forming close to the landing station of Project Kelvin which connects Northern Ireland to North America via the GTT North sub-marine cable system.
"5NINES, the new data centre at Atlantic Link, will be able to take advantage of the infrastructure available. We hope that it is the first of many.
"It is also a very positive development for Northern Ireland businesses to have a data centre service on their doorstep."
An enterprise zone is a location offering high-tech firms tax incentives and a simplified planning process to locate there.