In issue eight of InterGlobix Magazine, we shared how nearby cities are learning that collaboration, not competition, drives scale and the economic success of both localities. In Virginia, RVA757 Connects has been advancing this practice for the Richmond (RVA) and Hampton Roads (757) regions. The result has put the I-64 Innovation Corridor on the map of America’s megaregions, 12 micro-economies that make up 70% of the U.S. population, jobs, and gross domestic product.
Our intercity collaboration is now focused on putting our megaregion on the map of major global interconnection hubs. To this end, RVA757 Connects has convened more than 60 top leaders from 10 different industry and business categories including corporations, higher education, military, and government, to create a strategic plan.
We’re building on what already makes us the fastest, most diverse, and resilient digital connection between the U.S. and Europe and South America through three of the most modern, highest capacity cables coming ashore in Virginia Beach (757). A fourth cable to South Africa is next.
In Henrico (RVA), Facebook has invested more than a billion dollars in a 2.5-million-square-foot data center campus, and is home to the 1.4 million-square-foot QTS Richmond NAP, the world’s fourth largest integration center that it in the process of doubling its size. We’re also part of DE-CIX, the largest interconnected digital ecosystem in North America.
We’ll share our strategic plan with InterGlobix readers in early 2023. Until then, you can learn more about our megaregion-wide planning effort at www.globalinternethub.org.
INSIGHTS FROM INDUSTRY LUMINARIES ABOUT I-64 INNOVATION CORRIDOR MEGAREGION
Virginia Secretary of Finance
“The Commonwealth of Virginia is a digital port to the world. The incredible digital infrastructure assets that we have across our state are the backbone of business today and tomorrow. Having these digital assets is part of the secret sauce to our economic development success. The Commonwealth is delighted to be part of an initiative that is creating a strategic plan to make the I-64 Innovation Corridor a Global Internet Hub. We’re pleased that our business leaders, universities, military, economic development agencies, subsea cable owners, and local terrestrial operators are all working together to make this happen.”
John W. Martin
President and CEO of RVA757 Connects
“This strategic plan will continue to accelerate the development of our megaregion’s digital infrastructure. Becoming a Global Internet Hub will do more for Hampton Roads’ and Richmond’s economies and quality of life in the 21st century than the construction of I-64 and I-95 highways did for our regions in the 20th century.”
President and CEO of Hampton Roads Alliance
“Megaregions are becoming the new competitive units in the global economy. Nearby cities no longer compete, but instead collaborate on initiatives that will make them competitive on the world stage. For the Hampton Roads–Richmond megaregion, this approach includes accelerating our position as a global digital port. We are delighted to be working with our economic development counterparts in the Richmond area on a plan that will ensure our megaregion becomes increasingly important to the 21st century economy.”
President of InterGlobix, Executive Director & Founding Member of IEIC
“The subsea cable landings in Virginia Beach have been a catalyst of digital infrastructure growth in the I-64 Innovation Corridor. The Global Internet Hub initiative views our megaregion with a holistic approach. It breaks down physical boundaries to synergize subsea cable landings, data centers, terrestrial fiber, Internet Exchange Points, and other networks across the region. This unique approach makes a compelling value proposition for our megaregion to be Virginia’s shining star in the digital world.”
Director of Customer Service and Strategic Partnerships for Dominion Energy
“Dominion Energy is proud to be a part of the strategic planning team focused on making the I-64 Innovation Corridor a major part of the world’s digital infrastructure. Supporting data centers is a priority for Dominion Energy since this segment of business accounts for 20 percent of the electricity sold by the utility. The I-64 Innovation Corridor is well positioned for success, given its access to inexpensive reliable power, sustainable energy, and fiber.”
Deputy City Manager and Director of Economic Development for the City of Virginia Beach
“We are pleased the world’s subsea cable industry has selected Virginia Beach for its next generation connection points. Today we have three of the world’s fastest cables connecting us with Europe and South America and, in the near future, to South Africa. This has occurred, in part, as a result of our working relationship with the RVA757 Connects initiative. We look forward to advancing Virginia’s global digital connectivity given the presence of the industry in Virginia Beach.
President and CEO of Dragonfli Group
“The I-64 Innovation Corridor from Hampton Roads to Richmond has one of the highest concentrations of national security and cybersecurity workers than in any other part of the country—nearly 40,000 of them. The heart of the cybersecurity industry is having access to the fastest and most reliable Internet service, and that’s what we have here today. As a private sector player, we’re thrilled to be part of this Global Internet Hub strategic planning process that will ensure continued investment in our world-class digital infrastructure.”
Hakim J. Lucas
President of Virginia Union University
“The world doesn’t need just another Global Internet Hub. What’s really needed is the critical mass of an interconnection hub that delivers an advantage for everyone in that location and in particular the underserved population. What I’m so excited about being on this strategic planning committee is building on the enthusiasm to make the I-64 Innovation Corridor a Global Internet Hub that enables everyone to thrive in a 21st century economy.”
Executive Director of the Henrico County Economic Development Authority
“Henrico’s future-forward investments in digital infrastructure have enabled us to become one of the world’s fastest Internet connection points. We’ve gone from zero to 18 percent of the East Coast’s Internet traffic in five short years. We could not have done this without our partners in Virginia Beach building out their subsea cable landings, data centers, and local terrestrial networks. Together, we are making the world’s next Global Internet Hub not just a city, but a megaregion.”
Vice president of research at Old Dominion University
“ODU is thrilled to be part of the core team that inspired this strategic planning process. We have already started to work on anticipated curriculum for the jobs needed to support our growing digital infrastructure. We are partnering with Virginia Beach economic development organization and other universities in the I-64 Innovation Corridor. To be working side-by-side with more than 60 people that represents every aspect of our economy speaks to what our megaregion is all about – convening, connecting and collaborating.”
President and CEO of the Greater Richmond Partnership
“Between Richmond and Hampton Roads, Virginia, we have one of the most robust digital infrastructure systems in the world. And companies have begun to realize what a unique value proposition our megaregion offers. We’re proud to be a part of the effort to make this more well-known globally.”
THE GROWTH OF THE I-64 INNOVATION CORRIDOR’S WORLD-CLASS DIGITAL INFRASTRUCTURE
QTS buys a former semiconductor plant in the White Oak Technology Park in Henrico County, Virginia and eventually turns it into a mega data center.
Hurricane Sandy causes so much destruction to the New York coastline that it prompts the development of a third East Coast landing site.
Pixel Factory Data Center opens a nearly 10,000 sq. ft. facility in Hanover County, Virginia.
Virginia Beach is chosen as a new subsea cable landing site.
Facebook announces plans to build a large data center in the White Oak Technology Park in Henrico.
April: Assured Communications Advisors International announced plans to invest 52 million USD in Virginia Beach to open a 130,000 sq. ft. data center in the Corporate Landing Business Park.
May: MAREA cable, a joint project by Microsoft, Facebook and Telxius, brings the first ultra-high-speed, 200 terabit fiber optic cable from Bilbao, Spain to the Corporate Landing Business Park in Virginia Beach.
August: BRUSA, owned and operated by Telxius, brings the second subsea cable from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to Virginia Beach.
April: SimIS announces plans for a 50,000 sq. ft. carrier-neutral colocation campus in the Corporate Landing Business Park in Virginia Beach. (Plans call for starting construction in the second quarter of 2023.)
Mid: RVA757 Connects establishes a Work Group to advance the idea of seeking a Global Internet Hub designation for the I-64 Innovation Corridor megaregion.
October: At the Convergence 2021 gathering—an annual event hosted by RVA757 Connects, ChamberRVA, and the Hampton Roads Chamber—two digital infrastructure network experts share insights on how Marseilles, France became a Global Internet Hub by creating and following an intentional game plan.
April: Groundbreaking is held on the first phase of the fiber network ring in Hampton Roads. Five localities are funding this 119-mile network. Connected to subsea cables, the ring will deliver the fastest Internet speeds on the East Coast.
May: Globalinx receives approval from Virginia Beach City Council to build four subsea bore pipes in the Sandbridge area of the city. (Plans call for construction to start in late 2022, with completion in late 2023.)
June: GO Virginia Region 4 (Richmond) and Region 5 (Hampton Roads) awards a 100,000 USD planning grant for the Global Internet Hub strategic planning initiative. Additional funds have been contributed by Dominion Energy, Henrico County, Virginia Beach, the Hampton Roads Alliance, Old Dominion University, and Dragonfli Group.
July: The Global Internet Hub Steering Committee meets for the first time. More than 60 leaders from 10 different industry and business categories are members.
July: QTS announces it acquired an additional 200 acres next to its existing facility in Henrico’s White Oak Technology Park and is in the process of more than doubling its campus with a 1.5 million sq. ft. addition.
August: Globalinx receives final approvals from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the four subsea bore pipes from Sandbridge to the Globalinx cable landing station. (The project, which will include an additional 25,000 sq. ft. cable landing station extension, will start in January 2023 and be completed by the fourth quarter of 2023.)
November: DE-CIX officially opens three locations in Richmond area (two in Henrico and one in Hanover) for its data-center-neutral Internet exchange point.