Quincy Datacenter and Undersea Fiber Optic Cable Landing Station

Quincy Tech Datacenter and Undersea Fiber Cable Landing Station


Background: While doing some research I came across an idea that I believe would greatly benefit the city of Quincy. There are two parts to this idea and the reason behind that is it’s sort of a symbiotic scenario where it’s unlikely for one to exist without the other. This idea came to me after watching several thousand IT workers on the Red Line heading to downtown Boston for work one day…
The Idea: To advocate undersea fiber cable providers to use the coast near the Fore River Shipyard as a international fiber optic cable landing station. Which will in turn attract a Datacenter of one of the big content providers in the country to build their Datacenter on the Fore River shipyard property.

1. Undersea Fiber Optics Cable – A literal cable about 4” in diameter which companies use to provide internet connections between continents. 
2. Landing Station – A small building which receives the cable between continents and converts the light pulses in the cable to internet connections via severs in the building. 
3. Datacenter – A large building or series of buildings that house servers which feed the internet’s respective ‘content’.

Why Quincy?

Unique Geography & Popular Demand:

1. Fore River Shipyard – Enough Land to house the largest of Datacenters, rarely is that much land available near a major tech hub and having direct access to ocean cabling routes. 
2. Fiber Cable Safety – The Fore River lane is dredged for Panamax sized ships. The cable can be buried safely and even routed from the coastline directly. 
3. Major Hub Proximity – 9 miles to Boston, one of our country’s largest tech hubs. But equally important – next to one of the country’s largest financial trading hubs. (An industry where speed is paramount).


Natural Resources:

1. Can use the ocean water as a natural coolant for the on-site servers. Reducing the costs of the Datacenter to operate here. 
2. Can construct a solar/wind farm for additional cost saving in running the datacenter. 
3. Can utilize the Fore River power plant for direct power. Providing a symbiotic relationship for decades to come. Datacenters generally don’t directly pollute. But they do draw power. 

Political Angle:

1. Tech Hub – No more baby steps or following Cambridge/Somerville’s lead on how to lure tech companies to their towns. Quincy carves its own path and paves the way to dominating the tech industry in this immediate region.

2. Giveaways to the residents – For considerable tax breaks, one of the providers at the landing station provides free wifi across the City of Quincy.

3. Considerable Tax Revenue – Forget rental income and sales of 9mil on the property, with datacenters and landing stations we are in the hundreds of millions – a completely different league.

4. Fringe Benefits in the form of revenue for the City – Having a Datacenter in your town is like a bug light to bugs. Everyone wants a connection and want to be near a Datacenter. Which is good for keeping tech jobs in Quincy, hotels (for those workers from out of town that have to service servers in datacenters), and all the supporting businesses that go along with having this type of speed and access nearby.

5. Employing construction locals and local businesses – Jay Cashman to build datacenter, help dredge when needed and build wind farm to keep the project green friendly. All specialties of Jay Cashman of today, and he’s right next door.

6. Not depending on New York for our internet – Today most of our internet comes from Long Island, New York. We should not have to depend on other states and let them reap all the rewards of having cables directly route to their cities. 


In-Depth on Datacenters

Who operates a Datacenter exactly? – Google, eBay, Facebook or the lesser knowns – Equinix, Telx etc.

What do they consist of? – Generally they are large warehouse facilities that consist of many rows of internet servers which ultimately feed data or help route connections to receive internet data. They are generally well secured with security staff and fences to ensure secure intellectual property safety.

Why would Quincy want one? Because once you have a Datacenter in your town, every tech company wants to be nearby. It’ll draw significant tax revenue and jobs for the City of Quincy.

If they are so good, why doesn’t every town have or advocate for one? – Therein lies the rub. Google, Equinix etc know that they bring millions upon millions of dollars in revenue to wherever they place a datacenter. So states typically have to plead a case to these companies that there are sufficient natural resources for things like cooling, power, etc and provide tax incentives to come here. (Just like we’ve tried with the motion picture industry).

What types of Datacenters exist? – As far as I understand it, there are two. The first type are the Google, Facebook or eBay’s that simply want to host its own content closer to users to minimize latency. Then there are the providers like Equinix which simply rent out space to other internet providers (Comcast, MCI, etc) and resell the speed of the Datacenter. 
What are the negatives? – I can’t think of a single one. Other than having to come up with a justification RFP for why they should build here.

Why would a Datacenter operator want to build here in Quincy
• The huge consumer pool right here in the greater Boston region.
• The large tech pool of tech employees already available in this region.
• There is no waterfront land available in Boston to house this center. Quincy is the logical choice.
• Natural resources are available to keep operating costs low and a constant stream of revenue for the operator.
• The ability to hook directly into a potential new Landing Station connection their users/content with other continents.

Datacenter Reference:

Link 1
Link 2
Link 3
Link 4

Datacenter operators to propose to:


In-Depth on Undersea Fiber Optic Cables

Who operates an UFOC? – There are many companies listed in the reference section, mostly international.

Who benefits from having a UFOC in their city/region? – Everyone. Particularly Financial traders, because it allows them to trade faster than their competitors. Tech companies, get their content faster and more reliably. And Datacenters themselves, having direct access to overseas data with less latency.

Why petition for a cable in Quincy? – Because of its natural pathway to the Atlantic Ocean to connect with several continents and its ability to host a large Datacenter and lastly it’s large user base in Boston and availability of qualified engineers employed in the Quincy/Boston area.

• Self-Reliance from New York State – Sadly when disaster struck in New York, a lot of our bandwidth was reduced because a lot of our traffic was routed through New York. By having our own cables, we ensure our own dedicated pathway to the global internet.

Can a Datacenter exist without an UFOC? – Yes, but it greatly increases the odds of a Datacenter wanting to be in your town by having an UFOC. This symbiotic relationship and Quincy’s unique location makes for the perfect plan.

Who is responsible for maintaining the cable? – The company that laid the cable maintains the cable.


Undersea Fiber Optic Cable providers to propose to:


Undersea Fiber Cables Reference:

List of cables around the world.
Cable Landing points.
Cables in the news…
This is interesting, Lynn, Massachusetts example of a cable, but no proper Datacenter.

Personal Thoughts:

Getting a Datacenter and/or Undersea Fiber Optic Cables in your town isn’t easy. Nothing worthwhile in life is easy. I truly believe in the unique culmination of positive factors occur here in Quincy Massachusetts… The Fore River Shipyard (Location), our proximity to Boston (Demand) and our location against the Atlantic Ocean (Supply) with the added pluses of being in the Northeast (Natural Winter Cooling), the Ocean, (A constant year-round cooling source) and a Power Plant (Energy Source) make it a truly special location worth serious consideration by any Datacenter operator or Undersea Cable layer.

These reasons are why I think if we got into a competitive bidding situation, we could walk away with the prize and truly elevate not only Quincy, but the Boston region as a true world class technology powerhouse.

Let’s dare to plan for Quincy’s placeholder in the high tech future of the world.

    Update: 7.31.2016

Verizon Fiber expansion in Boston area

Fantastic news, Verizon has decided that Boston would be next to get completely rewired for fiber optic line. One step closer to my argument for why this is a good idea here.

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