The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology announced the work on structuring key business principles for large-scale data center development in multiple regions across the Kingdom. Key investors committed to the buildout of a series of neutral data centers across the Kingdom, as the first batch among many expected to carry out this plan.
In line with the acceleration of digital transformation and adoption of new technologies in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Ministry has set an ambitious plan to establish a strong and advanced digital infrastructure. This includes the development of hyper-scale data centers that accommodate the high demand for cloud services and enable Saudi Arabia to become a computing powerhouse and the digital hub for the region.
The plan anticipates the acceleration for data centers development within the Kingdom to surpass the 1,300-Megawatt mark before the year 2030, with expected investments of over $18 billion in data center and renewable energy serving the region.
The Ministry has been working closely with the private sector including local and international investors on structuring business principles for data center development in Saudi Arabia. Gulf Data Hub, Al Moammar Information Systems (MIS), and Saudi FAS Holding Company have worked with the Ministry on developing plans to build large-scale data centers that can drive the ambitious goals.
Bassam Al Bassam, 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 hyper-scale co-location capacity data centers needed to attract other digital investments, such as cloud service providers, gaming publishers, video streaming service operators and content delivery network (CDN) operators to localize their services inside the Kingdom.”
The CEO of Gulf Data Hub, Tarek Al Ashram 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. It is only natural that cloud service providers and publishers localize and host their operations in the region, and we wish to lend our extensive knowledge in the sector to help build the data centers of tomorrow."
Commenting on the business principles, the Chairman of MIS, Khalid Al-Moammar said: "My late brother and I started this business by offering time-share computing slots on a high-powered workstation he built. Some people would call this the cloud, we called it the future. It has been four decades since we did that, and today our investment into hyper-scale capable data centers will allow us to continue playing an active role in facilitating the economic transformation of our beloved nation."
The Chairman of Saudi FAS Holdings, Fawaz Abdulaziz Al-Hokair, noted: "We have been diversifying our activities over the past decade. Developing hyper-scale co-location data centers complements our real estate and entertainment holdings, given the rapid growth of e-sports, electronic gaming and video streaming we are witnessing today."
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 had also launched a nationwide initiative to connect 3.5 million households by 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 the biggest ICT and emerging technology market with a value exceeding $35 billion as of 2020.