Saudi Arabia ‘to spend $18bn’ on 1.3GW of data centres by 2030

Bassam Al-B with data centre.jpg

The government of Saudi Arabia is calling for US$18 billion investment in hyperscale data centres by 2030, to take capacity to more than 1.3GW.

In an official statement, the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) announced its business principles for large-scale data centre development across the country.

The Saudi Press Agency, the official news agency of Saudi Arabia, said that key local investors are committed to the buildout of a series of neutral data centres across the country.

Bassam Al-Bassam (pictured), deputy minister for telecom and digital infrastructure at MCIT, said: “We are enabling local champions to play a bigger role in the coming phase of Saudi Vision 2030, to increase the growth of hyperscale colocation capacity data centres needed to attract other digital investments, such as cloud service providers, gaming publishers, video streaming service operators and content delivery network (CDN) operators to localise their services inside the kingdom.”

Al-Bassam is a former telecoms engineer who has worked for STC – Saudi Telecom – and Cisco. He became deputy minister in October 2020.

The MCIT said it has been working closely with the private sector including local and international investors on structuring business principles for data centre development in Saudi Arabia.

The agency report said three companies, Gulf Data Hub, Al Moammar Information Systems (MIS) and Saudi FAS Holding Company, have worked with the the MCIT on developing plans to build large-scale data centres that can drive the ambitious goals.

Tarek Al-Ashram, CEO of Gulf Data Hub, said: “The region is witnessing a rapid demand for video streaming and cloud services. Driving this is the consumer demand for electronic and online entertainment, as well as the exponential digital transformation across the public and private sectors.”

Khalid Al-Moammar, chairman of MIS, said: “Our investment into hyperscale capable data centres will allow us to continue playing an active role in facilitating the economic transformation of our beloved nation.”

The Saudi Press Agency noted that the government of the country has also launched a plan to connect 3.5 million households by fibre-to-the-home (FTTH), covered 70% of rural households with wireless broadband, and covered more than 74 cities with 5G technology.