Westin Exchange Building’s Michael Boyle Talks View from Seattle and Sub-Sea Cables at Portland Summit

Jul 2, 2018
by Josh Anderson

PORTLAND, OR — No force may be as influential in the Portland data center market’s explosion as connectivity – but in many ways Portland is still competing with its neighbors for those connections. So at CapRE’s Second Greater Portland Data Center Summit this Spring, Founder and CEO of CapRate Events Brian Klebash kicked off the panel “Connectivity in the Pacific Northwest Markets: Analysis of New Subsea Landings, Latency Challenges and Innovations in Fiber” with a question for one of his panelists about this force.

“How do you see the Vancouver market?” asked Klebash to panelist Michael Boyle, Strategic Planning Director at the Westin Building Exchange who had traveled to Oregon from Seattle for the conference. “After all, It’s closer to you than Portland and is a rapidly growing market. Generally speaking, how well connected is it and how much do you rely on it in Seattle?”

data center summit“Historically, the Vancouver market has been the closest Canadian city to a large American city,” replied Boyle, before delving right into some data. “So, primarily, sixty to sixty-five percent of all U.S. calls to Canada go through there, which helped to build a copper meet-me-room in our building, because that’s where all of the hand-offs took place.”

“But as the market is growing and the market of data that is being created in the movie industry primarily – if you look at Lionsgate and the others that live up in Vancouver because of the tax incentives that have benefited that area enormously – we are going to see a lot more capacity requirements coming into Vancouver,” he continued.

“There’s a little bit of a concern, in one way this is probably a good thing, they’re looking at the benefit, we’ll call it a tax benefit, of how [they can] reduce the electrical costs to be more like Quincy’s electrical costs,” asserted Boyle. “Which would create a lot of new data centers in the Vancouver market – Surrey, Abbotsford, that region.”

At that point, Klebash posed another question to Boyle. “John Sheputis, of Informart, this morning estimated that the costs of new subsea cables to Portland would be about a billion dollars,” shared Klebash, harkening back to another panel. “Do you agree with that?”

“[One] was $300 and something million USD but it’s only a four pair system….there was a billion dollar cable into Harbor Point – that was a billion dollar cable,” he replied wryly. “Primarily because of the fiber capacities of the time. But they’ve improved the technologies so that most cables are five hundred million or less. And those are the longest submarine cables, I think, around.”

For more from Boyle and his co-panelists on connectivity in Portland, check out previous CapRE Insider Reports:


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