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Market Spotlight: Data Center Activity Looking Up in the Mile High City

Denver has one of the fastest-growing technology ecosystems in the United States. Whilst the "Mile High City" is considered a second tier digital hub, Denver’s strategic location has drawn considerable data center investment to the area. According to Data Center Frontier’s Rich Miller, Denver is likely to gain a higher profile as America’s IT infrastructure becomes more distributed.Located at the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains, Denver is a central hub for the transportation of goods and services for the western US, and its largest industries are healthcare, IT/software and telecommunications. It is home to numerous colocation providers, technology companies, IT service providers, carriers and in-house data centers. According to recent data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Denver’s unemployment rate is 3% and the strong local economy over the last five years has seen IT sector jobs grow by approximately 13%.Denver’s ConnectivityThe city’s strategic location is one of the factors that established Denver as a central relay point for fiber networks that interconnect between the major West Coast, Midwest and East Coast US markets. Denver has fiber lines that connect it to major US metropolitan areas such as Chicago, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Dallas, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego, among others. Internationally, the city has lines to Canada and Mexico.Denver’s dense telecom interconnections in turn attracts data centers to the city, as providers take advantage of the available infrastructure to offer low-latency services to their customers. The area now has 71MW of commissioned power, representing over 750,000 square feet of commissioned data center space. The Denver Metro area is also HQ for Zayo, CoreSite and CenturyLink.Denver's top five data centers (based on connectivity) and service providers (based on PoPs) are as follows: Top Data Centers:RANKINGDATA CENTER1910Telecom's Denver2CoreSite's DE13CoreSite's DE24Morgan Reed's 1500 Champa5Zayo's 1500 ChampaTop Service Providers:RANKINGSERVICE PROVIDER1Zayo2CenturyLink3Verizon4AT&T5XO CommunicationsThe LandscapeWith less power required for cooling in Denver, the location allows data centers to operate more efficiently. Denver’s power is 60% generated from coal, with the remainder generated from a mix of wind and natural gas. An increase in wind and solar is likely, following Governor Jared Polis’ campaign platform to shift Colorado to 100 percent clean energy by 2040. Additional legislation considered for 2019 may reduce power costs for large consumers, potentially making Denver even more attractive for data centers.Another attractive aspect of the Mile High City is the relatively low risk of natural disasters. The geography of the areas surrounding Denver shield it from adverse weather such as hurricanes and tornadoes. In fact, no tornadoes above EF2 have approached within 40 miles of the city. While there is a slight earthquake risk, most occur within the 3.5 to 4.5 magnitude range.The Future is HereThe roll out of 5G internet services in Denver is expected to spur demand for additional network infrastructure, including data centers. According to Ed Fox, Chief Technical Officer of communications provider, MetTel, there will be an increasing demand for storage capacity to hold the massive amounts of 5G network data. MetTel is building a data center in Denver for this purpose.Boston-based technology company, Starry, launched their 5G broadband service in the Mile High City in April 2019. Starry claims that its data-only 5G wireless service will be faster than CenturyLink’s slower DSL service, and simpler than packaged offerings from Xfinity. For organizations seeking wholesale solutions, Denver is currently limited to four operators. Flexential is the largest, with five data centers and a combined commissioned power of 25MWs. Iron Mountain’s DEN-1 center is 100% powered by renewable energy sources, and has a remarkable 17-year continuous uptime streak. EdgeConnex, which recently expanded their Denver campus, offers an additional 115,000 square feet of space and power density of up to 30 kW per rack. H5 Data Centers, a US national colocation and wholesale data provider, has similarly upgraded its Denver Tech Center and expanded its wholesale capacity. H5 announced in February 2019 that it expanded its Denver data center through its relationship with Handy Networks, allowing H5 Data Centers to grow the products available to its Denver customers. - -Interested to learn more about Denver’s colocation and connectivity options? Take a look at the Denver market page available on Cloudscene. If you’d like quotes for services in the Denver market, simply reach out to our team with your requirements and we’ll create a Marketplace listing on your behalf - it’s free.

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