SFT/Host in Scotland has commissioned a number of research studies to examine the case for investment/development of the datacentre industry in Scotland and the ability to obtain wider international subsea fibreoptic connectivity.
Shortlist for Data Centre Site Development - Revision 1 - September 2021
In late 2020 we commissioned TechRe to undertake a significant piece of research into the availability of strong potential sites for sustainable datacentre investment in Scotland. This work was initially curtailed in its scope due to COVID-19 restrictions on travel, but this first Revision has considered the entirety of Scotland's geography including the Islands. The commission sought to identify sites with unique propositions and, specifically, which could marry up the key criteria of connectivity, availability of and proximity to sources of green renewable energy, location and other potential future developments which could greatly enhance the site value such as future subsea cable landing points. The outputs from the commission, which considered over 100 sites are two reports. The first is a shortlist of potential datacentre sites which meet, or have the strong potential to meet, the needs of large scale datacentre owners/operators/investors. The second is a longlist of sites which provides details on sites which could be attractive as datacentre locations which some additional infrastructure or remedial works. This is a very exciting study which we believe delivers real value to the Scottish datacentre sector.
Longlist for Data Centre Site Development - Revision 1 - September 2021
Farrpoint/Pioneer Consulting North-Eastern Scotland Subsea Connectivity Feasibility Study (June 2021)
In Autumn 2020 we commissioned Farrpoint/Pioneer Consulting to undertake a feasibility study into the cost and complexity of developing a festoon subsea fibre network in order to provide a comparison to terrestrial options. This study considered the natural and man-made barriers and features in order to develop potential routes to facilitate the provision of high capacity fibre to the very northernmost tip of the country from central Scotland. In addition the report considers the difference in Greenhouse Gas emissions between subsea and terrestrial options. This high quality, technical document provides a great addition to our knowledge base for subsea options, complimenting the Global Marine work in 2018, and will feed into wider considerations of a subsea cable landing plan for Scotland.
Deloitte Report (2018)
Through a formal competition we appointed Deloitte to undertake a very detailed Economic Impact Assessment of datacentres and international connectivity, including the associated impact on Gross Value Add (GVA)/GDP and employment opportunities. The study sought to examine how improvements in international connectivity can lead to improved performance in transferring data (latency) between countries, stronger internet resilience by having more cables serving a country and feed through into lower wholesale prices for service providers.
Across three modelled scenarios (with different rates of subscriber take-up impact and data centre investment levels) Deloitte’s quantitative analysis suggests that enhancements in Scottish international connectivity might be expected, alongside other important contributory factors, such as investments in local telecommunications infrastructure, to result in annual GVA being between £0.2bn and £0.4bn higher each year in the long-term. Deloitte also estimates that between 1,300 and 3,100 additional jobs could be created across Scotland in the long-term across different scenarios.
Global Marine Report (2018)
Global Marine were appointed (via competition) to undertake a full, detailed Desktop Study (DTS) investigation on the most appropriate physical landing sites for subsea fibreoptic cables on the North/West coasts of Scotland. This report provides a wealth of detailed information on the potential for a route from Ireland (Dublin) to Scotland (Irvine) and also the potential to land a transatlantic cable at the same location.
Gartner Report (2018)
Gartner were commissioned in late 2017 to provide an understanding of the current and projected demand for data/datacentres in Scotland and recommendations for how Scotland can address this demand/opportunity. Gartner used their infrastructure and data centre sourcing team that works with the largest end users and services providers to provide insights into site selection factors and requirements, and to understand the data centre providers market trends within the UK and Scotland. Gartner has developed 6 scenarios that are focussed primarily on differentiating factors that Scotland might possess to attract the data centre providers, and also based on the potential plans within Scotland that might drive growth.