NextGen finally begins construction in Canberra

The AU$30 million data center will eventually grow to 5MW

6 January 2015 by Max Smolaks

NextGen finally begins construction in Canberra
Typical Metronode data center

Australian telecommunications provider NextGen Networks has begun the construction of an AU$30 million data center in Canberra, expecting to finish by September.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the new facility in the capital will be aimed primarily at public sector customers. It was originally scheduled to open its doors by late 2014, but the project was delayed due to the lack of “the right business case”.

Chasing federal contracts
NextGen has an interesting history – it was established in 2002 to manage the nationwide fiber network that links together five of the largest Australian cities across thousands of kilometers of desert.

In 2003, amid financial uncertainty, the company was sold to Leighton Holdings for between $20 and $30 million. Ten years later, Leighton sold 70 percent of the company to Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan - a prominent investor in the data center market – for a whopping $885 million.

Besides the network, NextGen Group owns nine data centers through its subsidiary Metronode, including some built specifically for government purposes. The company recently appointed former CEO of telecoms giant AAPT David Yulie as its managing director, owing in part to his data center expertise.

NextGen’s first data center in the Australian capital will be located in Mitchell, an industrial estate north of the city. The design is based on the BladeRoom modular data center system, which typically produces a PUE (power usage effectiveness) of less than 1.2.

"We're getting a lot of positive responses from the federal government. The facility is going to be capable of 5 megawatts of capacity but the initial fit out will be 1MW,” Yulie told the Australian newspaper.

"The new data centre will be super energy efficient and we're also going to be doing a data centre expansion in Illawarra and Silverwater to meet further demand from the NSW government."

NextGen is also planning additional facilities for Brisbane, Adelaide and Auckland. Meanwhile, its ambitious cable project designed to link Perth to Singapore via Jakarta has just received the Indonesia Landing Permit approval.

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