Townsville City Council and James Cook University will this week be briefing potential operators on their planned North Queensland Regional Data Centre (NQRDC).
With the council’s existing data centre reaching end of life in 2019, and the university facing a need to expand its digital infrastructure, the two organisations entered a partnership last year.
“We’ve been working together with council to establish a partnership to be the anchor tenants of the proposed NQRDC,” said James Cook University’s vice chancellor Professor Sandra Harding.
“The data centre will be a key piece of economic and digital infrastructure that will support both council’s future data centre needs and provide high quality services in the local community for other users, including JCU and prospectively State Government agencies, Defence and local businesses.”
The facility is expected to be developed within the council’s existing site at Dalrymple Road, near Kirwan, where the council’s Local Disaster Coordination Centre is currently housed. The site “provides excellent connectivity and access” and the close proximity to the disaster centre “will provide improved resilience” the council said.
The council and JCU had already been approached by a number of established data centre operators wanting to invest in the region, the council, who will be administering the expressions of interest process, said.
“There are a number of potentially viable business models that could be used to deliver the NQRDC and experienced operators will also bring their own appetite to invest in the local market. This project will catalyse significant local digital capability development,” said Harding.
The council said the centre would also support local jobs in technology.
Townsville, Tech City
“This data centre forms just another part of the vision that both JCU and council have for the region,” said Mayor Jenny Hill.
Townsville City Council, among the largest in Australia, was the first town to sign up to the government’s Smart Cities Plan, a 15 year commitment between the city council, the Queensland Government and the Federal Government.
As part of that plan, the city will “be a flagship for a modern digital city and Local Government in Australia” and maximize its digital connectivity to improve service delivery and public value, the strategy outline says.
Former Woodside tech transformation chief Mike Schuman recently took the role of the council’s first chief information officer to lead the digital transformation effort.