Multi-million pound data centre could transform Tyneside into a global digital hub

New centre at Cobalt Business Park has the ability to attract major firms to the North East, backer says The opening of a multi-million pound data centre on Tyneside has the potential to transform the area as a world-leading digital hub, its backer says.

Irish businessman Noel Meaney, who started gobal companies euNetworks and Citadel100, has invested heavily in the opening of the Stellium data centre at the Cobalt Business Park, on North Tyneside.

The new centre aims to provide data storage facilities for regional, national and international companies, and uses so much power that it has its own dedicated supply from the National Grid, plus a back-up system to ensure it is never offline.

As well as opening the new centre, Stellium has invested in a 25-mile fibre network in Newcastle that gives a huge boost to the city’s growing tech scene.

New Stellium data centre at Cobalt Business Park
New Stellium data centre at Cobalt Business Park
The combined new facilities give the North East connectivity on a par with Mediacity in Salford and Silicon Roundabout in London, allowing businesses to move large volumes of data across wide areas at high speed, a key strength for competitive positioning in the digital economy.

The investment will support business growth by improving the speed of connection to the internet and it is also hoped that it will attract new inward investment opportunities and encourage large companies to set up in the North East.

Mr Meaney, who is CEO at Stellium, said: “We are in an age when the datacenter has become a powerhouse of modern business. The way we store, manage, manipulate and move data is driving and creating new market opportunities, whether it’s convergence and cloud computing, or big data and the Internet of Things.

“Data centers are the hub of modern business operations and can no longer be viewed simply as a commodity. Instead, they have evolved to become a strategic business asset.”

He added: “For cities that have this sort of infrastructure, it can be transformational.”

Stellium’s opening on Tyneside has been welcomed by Newcastle City Council leader Nick Forbes.

He said: “Newcastle and the North East is a hotbed for digital innovation, and this announcement cements our position as the fastest growing tech sector outside of London.

“Combined with the £30m National Institute for Smart Data Innovation on Newcastle Science Central and world-leading and renowned research at our universities, having this kind of infrastructure will now allow us to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the explosion in big data.

“These unique assets will provide access to new international markets, attract further investment, encourage business growth and help develop skills and create jobs of the future. I’m delighted that Stellium is investing in our region, which adds to the air of excitement currently being generated around the North East’s tech scene.”

The opening of the facility has been supported by £2.5m from the North East Investment Fund administered by the North East LEP.

Hans Moller, the North East LEP’s innovation director, said: “Infrastructure in terms of data centres and fibre networks across the region is in high demand, particularly as the North East has the fastest growing tech sector outside London.

“We are committed to supporting ‘game changing’ projects to meet this demand and we look forward to seeing the benefits North East businesses will reap from this world class connectivity upgrade.”

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