Facebook plans huge server farm in Sweden

By The Associated Press

STOCKHOLM (AP) — Facebook plans to build a large server farm in northern Sweden near the Arctic Circle, taking advantage of the chilly climate to keep its equipment cool, a Swedish newspaper reported Wednesday.

The Norrbottens Kuriren newspaper said the American social network will announce its plans Thursday in Lulea, site of the operation, which is 60 miles (100 kilometers) south of the Arctic Circle. The paper cited Jan Fredriksson of Helm1 PR, a public relations agency that represents Facebook in Sweden.

Fredriksson and Facebook officials didn’t return calls and emails seeking comment Wednesday.

Servers inside data centers are the backbone of Internet services such as Facebook, which has an estimated 800 million active users worldwide. The servers store and transmit billions of status updates, links, photos and all the outside apps used by Facebook’s members.

City officials in Lulea have said earlier they were in talks with an “American world-leading company” to build the 5-acre (2-hectare) data center near the Lulea University of Technology. They declined to comment Wednesday.

The three server halls are expected to take three years to build at a cost of up to 5 billion kronor ($760 million).

Lulea officials have stressed the city’s access to renewable energy from hydropower facilities near the city and its solid power grid. In case of a blackout, construction designs call for each building to have 14 backup diesel generators with a total output of 40 MW. Officials also emphasize Lulea’s favorable climate for the cooling of server halls, with winter temperatures below freezing and summertime highs that rarely climb above 80F (25 C).