Reliance Jio aims to construct a $950 million data center in Uttar Pradesh

Two individuals aware of the development said that Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd, India’s largest telecom operator, plans to construct a data center in Uttar Pradesh with an investment of about $950 million.

This data center could be operated by a solar power plant of its own.

“For Reliance Jio, this is an important focus area,” according to one of the two persons mentioned above, both of whom spoke on requested anonymity.

The development was confirmed by a top minister in the state government.

In response to a Mint query, Sidharth Nath Singh, who heads the ministries of investment and export, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME), and textiles in the UP government, said in a statement that a 20-acre plot had been allocated to the company for the data center, and the project will cost approximately Rs.7,000 crore.

The center will consist of six interconnected data center buildings with a capacity of 30,000 racks and power of 200MW. Singh said in the statement that it is planned to create thousands of work openings in the IT (information technology) market.

The data center strategy of Reliance Jio comes against the backdrop of the government forecasting that the digital economy of India will rise to $1 trillion by 2025. The data localization requirements of the Reserve Bank of India have necessitated the need for data centers.

Queries submitted on Sunday night to a Reliance Jio spokesperson remained unanswered until press time.

India has about 375MW of installed power capacity for data centers, as per the government, which can also triple by 2025.

There is also an investment potential of $4.9 billion by 2025 to build up facilities for data centers.

The Centre also aims to introduce a program to enable companies to create data center parks, including the provision of infrastructure status to make it easier to obtain incentives such as long-term credit. Fiscal and non-fiscal benefits can also be offered by the Union and by state governments.

“Furthermore, the need for data center infrastructure within the borders of the country is required by the provisions of the proposed Data Protection Act on data localization and for the protection of the country’s digital sovereignty in an increasingly connected world,” said the draft Data Centre Policy published by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

Venture capitalists warmed up to Uttar Pradesh supporting the Yogi Adityanath-led government industrial strategy unveiled in 2017, which details steps varying from affordable energy to tax incentives.