Data Centres in Manitoba – What’s Missing?

Blog, Disruption, Les Routledge

Both Manitoba Hydro and the Manitoba Government promote the fact that Manitoba offers the lowest cost of electricity in North America.  As an additional benefit, virtually all of that power is produced from renewable hydro instead of coal, natural gas or nuclear.

According to this post, the major criteria for site selection of large data centres includes low cost power, ability to use or dissipate heat, and low-cost real estate.  An obvious additional category would be very high capacity, low cost and multiple path multi-gigabit fibre links to major Internet nodes across North America.

As we go into a fall election, the political parties should be challenged to identify why Manitoba is not already attracting this type of investment in data centres and what changes in government policy will enable our province to become a home to this type of business enterprise.

From a rural perspective, can the political parties in Manitoba explain to rural towns why the experience of Qunicy cannot be replicated in Manitoba?  What is missing and how can we fix that problem?

  • For example, would replacing the PST with a HST make Manitoba competitive on a sales tax front?
  • Do data centres prefer to contract with multiple utilities to provide redundancy in terms of power supply?
  • Is action required to tap into the fibre cable connections that are passing through Manitoba?
  • Are new Fibre links required?
  • Is our income and corporate tax regime competitive?
  • Can government and crown corporation procurement policy and IT outsourcing policy play a role in seeding a local market demand for cloud data centre services?
  • Is our payroll tax and property tax burden competitive?
  • Is our regulatory and environmental approval process competitive?

What will it take so that the following picture is possible to envisage for communities such as Virden, Portage, Minnedosa, Morris, or Killarney?