Ashburn and the surrounding areas are known as "Data Center Alley'" for a reason - this area is home to one of the first large peering exchanges. There are over 120 data centers, with approximately 10 million square feet of data center space. Many are drawn to the area because of invaluable ecosystem which is built on top of the world’s densest fiber network.
During the late 1990s, at the start of the internet boom, North Virginia was viewed as the perfect place for the expansion of the internet and fiber networks. The land was reasonably priced, the electricity cost was low and it was in close proximity to a skilled and educated population. Over time, as more data centers and network access points were built, more companies became attracted to the area, requiring more infrastructure build out. This compounding effect is one of the main reason that 70% of the world's internet runs through the area.
Data centers require a lot of power to operate, so stable, cheap energy sources are ideal when selecting a data center site. Dominion Energy is the main power utility provider to the region, providing over 1 Gigawatt of power. This availability of stable power in combination with the fiber infrastructure and government support is essential to the ever expanding data center space.
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