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Microsoft to invest £2.5bn in British AI infrastructure

Microsoft pledges £2.5bn British AI investment Image credit: Volodymyr Kyrylyuk / Shutterstock.com

Tech giant Microsoft has pledged £2.5bn to build AI infrastructure in the UK as part of a raft of overseas investments announced by the government on Sunday.

The investment will bring more data centres and “thousands” of graphics processing units – circuits used to power AI applications – to the UK.

It forms part of a £29.5bn capital commitment into the UK by businesses, unveiled by the government at the Global Investment Summit at Hampton Court Palace on Monday.

Other technology investments include the Ellison Institute of Technology putting £1bn into its recently announced Oxford Campus for R&D.

Japanese venture capital fund SBI Investment has confirmed it will lead a $100m (£79.3m) capital raise into Oxford Quantum Circuits.

“Attracting global investment is at the heart of my plan for growing the economy,” said Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

“With new funding pouring into key industries like clean energy, life sciences and advanced technology, inward investment is creating high-quality new jobs and driving growth right across the country.”

Details about the time period for Microsoft’s £2.5bn investment are not yet known.

A Microsoft spokesperson told UKTN the company would share more details about its AI investment later this week.

“The acceleration in AI capabilities and customer demand for AI services requires significant investment in UK infrastructure,” the spokesperson said.

The boom in artificial intelligence applications, such as Microsoft-backed advanced chatbot ChatGPT, has ramped up demand for the hardware required to run and train systems.

In last week’s Autumn Statement, the government committed a further £500m over the next two years for access to AI compute. This brings the total planned investment into compute to more than £1.5bn, with AI supercomputers to be built in Bristol and Cambridge.

Read more: All the Autumn Statement’s key UK tech policies