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Google’s $1bn Hertfordshire data centre a ‘vote of confidence in the UK’

Google UK
Image credit: Alena Veasey / Shutterstock

Google’s planned $1bn Hertfordshire data centre has been described as a “huge vote of confidence in the UK” by the prime minister.

Announced by Google last week, the 33-acre UK data centre will be built in the Hertfordshire town of Waltham Cross.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “It’s a huge vote of confidence in the UK as the largest tech economy in Europe, bringing with it good jobs and the infrastructure needed to support British businesses.”

Tech secretary Michelle Donelan added: “By basing their new data centre on our shores, Google are providing British businesses, including our bustling startups, with more reliable access to some of the world’s leading cloud technology, underpinning their innovation and success.”

The data centre will support the tech giant’s growing artificial intelligence and cloud services product line as the AI Big Tech arms race heats up.

Alphabet rivals Microsoft and Amazon have both been betting big on AI with billions of investments from the companies into AI projects, including a £2.5bn commitment from Microsoft to expand British AI infrastructure.

Alphabet president and chief investment officer Ruth Porat said the centre would “bring crucial compute capacity to businesses across the UK while creating construction and technical jobs for the local community”.

The British government has named AI as a top priority for the country to capitalise on. Compute capacity is a key barrier for data-intense AI applications.

Last year, the chancellor announced a £900m funding package to scale the country’s computing power during the Spring Budget Statement.