A data center is the behind-the-scenes resource that houses computer systems, networking equipment and associated components, such as telecommunications and storage systems that make routine tasks faster, easier, and more accurate. It generally includes redundant or backup power supplies, redundant data communications connections, environmental controls (e.g., air conditioning, fire suppression) and security devices.
The growth of the internet, e-commerce and social networking has made information technology a part of daily life, and organizations continue to enhance data centers to meet ever increasing demands. Most mid-sized or larger companies utilize at least one data center, and the largest companies operate dozens of data centers.
A colocation center is a type of data center where multiple customers locate network, server and storage gear and interconnect to a variety of telecommunications and other network service provider(s) with a minimum of cost and complexity. Most internet exchange points provide colocation.
One of the Jackson Region’s greatest strengths related to attracting data centers is the presence of a 120-acre TVA-certified Primary Data Center Site located at the Tiger Jones Technology Park. TVA’s Primary Data Center Sites are certified by Deloitte Consulting as ready-for-development, meaning they meet the requirements to support a major data center. Selection criteria used in the certification process included accessibility, telecommunications infrastructure, electric power availability and reliability, and other characteristics beneficial to data center development.
Qualified companies that locate data centers at the TVA-certified data center site could be eligible for TVA’s most competitive manufacturing rates if they have a power demand in excess of five megawatts and operate at an average of at least 80 percent of this demand. Eligible companies must be involved in one of the following activities: data processing, hosting and related services, and web search portals; financial transactions processing, reserve, and clearinghouse activities; payroll services; or internet service providers.
The State of Tennessee also offers qualifying data centers tax credits for the purchase of materials related to the construction of a qualified data center, which includes data center projects that invest at least $250 million and create 25 new jobs paying 150 percent of the state’s average occupational wage. Qualifying projects receive a five percent Industrial Machinery Tax Credit against Franchise & Excise tax liability, as well as a sales and use tax exemption, on the purchase of computers, computer systems, computer software and repair parts, and a reduced sales tax on the purchase of electricity (1.5 percent versus seven percent).
The telecommunications and broadband infrastructure in parts of the Jackson Region should meet the requirements needed by companies that establish a new data center in the region. According to the National Broadband Map website, the following companies provide telecommunications and broadband service in the nine county region: Aeneas Internet and Telephone; AT&T, Inc.; Charter Communications; the Jackson Energy Authority; Ken-Ten Wireless, LLC; Sprint Nextel Corporation; T-Mobile USA; and Verizon Communications, Inc. Data transfer rates range from 1.5 megabits per second (Mbps) to 100 Mbps with the 10 Mbps as the most common speed. When compared against the other ten Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) in the state of Tennessee, the Jackson MSA ranks eighth overall in terms of broadband speed, which in higher than the Memphis MSA ranking.
Additionally, Jackson Energy Authority (JEA) built a new fiber optic telecommunications network in recent years that provides every home and every business in Jackson with end-to-end fiber connectivity.