Russian telecom company plans to open its first Arctic data center

Rostelecom will save energy on cooling computers by locating the center in Murmansk.

By Polina Leganger Bronder, The Independent Barents Observer - October 22, 2021
Murmansk’s cold climate means less energy will be required to cool the computers at a new data processing center planned there. (Thomas Nilsen / The Independent Barents Observer)

Russia’s leading long-distance phone provider, Rostelecom, plans to open its first Arctic data processing center in Murmansk next summer.

The news was announced on earlier this month after a cooperation agreement to build the Arctic DPC was signed by Murmansk governor Andrey Chibis and director of the northwest macro-regional branch of Rostelecom, Aleksandr Loginov.

“We plan to start the construction work at the end of this year or at the beginning of 2022.  The planned completion date is July 2022,” Loginov said to news agency TASS. According to the Rostelecom representative, the volume of investments after the launch will reach 300 million rubles.

Commenting on why the DPC was built in the Arctic, Loginov explained that operating data centers in the polar circle can be more efficient as “the low temperatures of the Arctic climatic zone can reduce parts of the maintenance costs.”

Chibis wrote on his private VKontakte social media platform: “Today, together with Rostelecom, two digital projects in the Murmansk region were launched. One of these projects is the construction of the first Arctic Data Processing Center, which will provide high-quality and secure storage of information for digital projects. The second one is the launch in Yurkino of the first in Russia high-speed Internet access – AirPON zone from Huawei.”

According to the governor, the two projects are important stepping stones in enabling “the Murmansk region to be among the leaders in digitalization” and “continuing to delve further in this direction.”

Chibis elaborated in the interview with TASS on the importance of the DPC by claiming it is especially relevant now due to regional demand from authorities as the amount of data that needs to be stored and processed is constantly growing.

Although the project is important for local authorities, Chibis noted that the Murmansk region’s government will act more like an anchor partner, but that “the main focus of the project is not on the state, but rather on the business sphere, which is also very actively involved in reducing costs as well as increasing the efficiency and productivity of labor in the Murmansk region.”

The data center will be used as a reliable platform for hosting partners’ equipment and will additionally provide cloud services for businesses and opens for potential cooperation projects within the field of energy efficiency as well as the development of a video surveillance and photo-video recording system in the Murmansk region were discussed at the conference.