Access and Feeds

Big Data: Bringing Growth to Rural Communities

By Dick Weisinger

Prineville, Oregon; Council Bluffs, Iowa; Quincy, Washington; The Dalles, Oregon; Mahwah, New Jersey.   Are these the cities that will drive future US economic growth?  These are becoming hubs of growth around cloud computing and big data research.   While the industrial age in the US was driven by cities like Philadelphia, Detroit, Buffalo, Cleveland, these new cities are hosting massive data centers for housing data collected by companies like Facebook, Google, Microsoft and the New York Stock Exchange.

Oregon in particular is seeing huge growth.  Thanks to tax incentives, good climate, cheap power, and the availability of water, growth has been very rapid  in a few of what are currently rural Oregon communities.  Big data is translating to big building and big construction.  The data centers and construction are bringing with them jobs and tax revenues.  In an effort to bring industry to Oregon,  land in different parts of the state has already been marked as pre-approved for large industries, removing most of the red tape normally involved in getting government approval.

Facebook is building a 307,000 square feet facility in Prineville, Oregon.  Google is already in Prineville.  In and around The Dalles, companies like Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, and T-Mobile have set up business along the Columbia river.  But the activity isn’t limited to Oregon.  In Quincy, Washington, Microsoft, Intuit and Yahoo already have large centers.  In Council Bluffs, Google is setting up a $600 million data center.  Twitter is rumored to be planning a large data center outside of Salt Lake City.  And the New York Stock Exchange is setting up a 400,000 square foot facility in Mahwah.

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