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Is Facebook hiding behind Siculus shell for new US data centre?

Written by Mon 15 Apr 2019

Facebook appears to be donning the Siculus mask for a 1m sq. ft extension to its Altoona campus in Iowa

A company working behind the name Siculus Inc. is set to construct a 1 million-square-foot data centre directly north of Facebook’s 1 million-square-foot data centre campus in Altoona, Iowa, according to local reports.

The massive project, dubbed Project Sequelant, was signed off by the Atloona Planning and Zoning commission last week.

Facebook previously used the Siculus shell to construct a $1.5 billion (£1.14 billion) data centre campus in Atloona in 2012. The new site would be Facebook’s fifth data centre in the small town, which has a population of just over 15,000.

Despite the fact that Facebook has previously used the alias for other Altoona-based projects, and Siculus’s connection Greater Kudo LLC — the company Facebook uses to build facilities in New Mexico — Altoona city officials said they were unable to disclose Facebook’s involvement in the new project.

Aliases allow big tech companies to weasel their way into small towns and negotiate lucrative tax breaks with minimal resistance from the local population, who rightly ask for proof that the gargantuan data centres will provide the boost to the local economy promised.

“We’re very excited to see another approximately 1 million-square-foot data centre come to the community,” said Altoona city administrator Jeff Mark. “It provides a lot of good jobs in the community, both from the contractors and the operations of the data centre.”

In 2016, US policy think tank Good Jobs First panned local and state governments for being too generous with tax breaks and other incentives offered to the likes of Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google, arguing that the subsidies cost authorities around $2m (£1.5m) per job created.

Facebook claims that its US data centre footprint has contributed $5.8 billion (£4.4 billion) to the country’s GDP since 2010 and that ‘for every one data centre job there are five jobs supported elsewhere in the economy’.

Facebook currently employs around 300 workers at its Altoona data centre, according to 2018 statistics.

Written by Mon 15 Apr 2019

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