Saudi Arabia expands digital infrastructure plan

The move aims to leverage environmentally friendly and renewable energy generation projects

  
Businessman using modern interface payments online shopping and icon customer network connection on virtual screen. Image used for illustrative purpose.

Businessman using modern interface payments online shopping and icon customer network connection on virtual screen. Image used for illustrative purpose.

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Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology has announced four new cooperative initiatives to build and develop hyperscale data centers across the Kingdom.

The move aims to leverage environmentally friendly and renewable energy generation projects currently underway across the country, reported Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

The announcement comes as an extension of the Ministry’s Saudi Vision 2030 multi-phase plan to transform the Kingdom from a factor-based to innovation-driven digital economy. This transformation is facilitated by the buildout and development of hyperscale data centers needed to accelerate digital transformation, increase the adoption of emerging technologies, boost technology and digital investments and drive the emergence of Saudi Arabia as a leading cloud services hub.

The Ministry worked closely with a group of local and international companies to structure the right business principles for the buildout and operation, in line with the ambition of this multi-phased plan to accelerate the development of hyperscale data centers. The estimated capacity will be 1300 Megawatts and will leverage sustainable renewable energy generation and an expected investment of around $18 Billion,

The four new initiatives structured in cooperation with Malaz Financial Company, Dawiyat Integrated Telecommunications and Information Technology Company, Quantum Switch Tamasuk and Alfanar Group, and follow an earlier announcement made by the Ministry and bring the total number of companies adopting the business principles up to seven.

Deputy Minister for Infrastructure Bassam Al Bassam said: “Today, we drive the buildout and development of hyperscale centers needed to increase the adoption and maturity of cloud services. This is a foundational component for digital services, and enables video game publishers, e-sports tournament organizers, online broadcasters, content service operators and other digital platforms localize their services in Saudi Arabia

“ The Kingdom is rapidly progressing towards consolidating its position as a leading digital hub in the region by partnering with companies that can accelerate the pace of economic growth and ensure readiness to digitally empower this ambitious nation.”

Abdulsalam M Al Mutlaq, Chairman of Alfanar Group, said: “Our group, building on its international expertise in advanced renewable technologies, manufacturing and integration of digital solutions and digital infrastructure projects, is keen to deliver on the initiative of the collaboration with the Ministry that will transform the Kingdom into a leading cloud services hub.”

Abdulaziz Jazzar, Managing Director of Malaz Capital, which is backing Orjwan Consulting Group, said: “Hyperscale data centers are at the heart of the Kingdom’s ambitious digital transformation plan to increase the welfare of people and the prosperity of our nation.”

Dawiyat Integrated Telecommunications and Information Technology Company CEO, Ahmad Sindi, said: “Hyperscale data centers are one of the important components of enabling Saudi Vision 2030’s digital transformation goals for the Kingdom. Such data centers are also a core component of enabling the 4th Industrial Revolution usage cases, and contribute to increasing local content across the ICT sector at the highest standards.”

Quantum Switch Tamasuk CEO and Managing Director Mathew Nathan, said: “We are proud of our partnership with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology on hyperscale data centers, and are ready to support the Ministry’s digital transformation drive in the Kingdom with our financial position and expertise.”

The government of Saudi Arabia has made great efforts to stimulate the development of the country’s digital infrastructure and enhance its role in connecting the globe. The government launched a nationwide initiative to connect 3.5 million households via fiber to the home (FTTH), covered 70% of the rural households in remote areas with wireless broadband networks, covered more than 74 cities with 5G technology and launched the first neutral Internet Exchange Point in Saudi Arabia (SAIX).

The Kingdom is home to three of the largest telecom operators in the region and is the largest ICT and emerging technology market in the Mena region with a value exceeding $35 billion as of 2020.

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