back to article Either Facebook is building yet another massive bit barn in Iowa, and doesn't want you to know about it....

A legal entity called Siculus Inc plans to build a data centre covering 1 million square foot (c 92,900m2) next door to Facebook's 2.5 million square feet (c 232,257m2) infrastructure campus in Altoona, Iowa. The undertaking, codenamed Project Sequelant, has already been approved by the Altoona Planning and Zoning Commission …

  1. }{amis}{ Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    every data centre job, there were five jobs supported elsewhere in the economy

    Only 5 that's a pretty rubbish return, admittedly these kind of economic estimates are always cooked to hell and back.

    Even a pork barrel employer like Airbus in the UK manages 6.9 and its not unusual to hear figures of 20:1 banded about.

    PDF: THE IMPACT OF AIRBUS ON THE UK ECONOMY

    1. Korev Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: every data centre job, there were five jobs supported elsewhere in the economy

      I guess Airbus are winging it in the UK...

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: every data centre job, there were five jobs supported elsewhere in the economy

        I guess Airbus are winging it in out of the UK

        FTFY

        1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

          Re: every data centre job, there were five jobs supported elsewhere in the economy

          ..Careful with the puns. The haters will get in a flap!

    2. Mage Silver badge

      Re: every data centre job, there were five jobs supported elsewhere in the economy

      Pizza, taxis, coffee

      All at what cost to Facebooks's product, the people that provide content for the adverts to go on.

      As to how real Facebook's claims to the advertisers are?

      1. veti Silver badge

        Re: every data centre job, there were five jobs supported elsewhere in the economy

        Pizza - OK, granted, there may be a slight boost to that sector. Probably not enough to support a whole new restaurant, but maybe improve the menus of one or two already there.

        Coffee - they'll surely have their own coffee machines in the building, so limited gain there.

        Taxis - I think you'll find Uber is more their speed.

        There will be a few jobs, but not enough to buck up the whole town - probably not enough to replace the housing the new workers will fill up. Now, if more digital companies started to come to town in order to be close to Facebook, that would be another story.

    3. ratfox Silver badge

      Re: every data centre job, there were five jobs supported elsewhere in the economy

      As far as I know, a data center of the kind built by Facebook has around 100 employees. Depending on the place, it brings a lot or it's nothing...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gov'funded datacentre for data analytics to covertly monitor facebook at scale? Sounds like it.

    Where would you build such a covert datacentre?

    You'd hide it right next to the existing one in plain sight, to save on the cost of those massive data pipes required over any distance, to allow the fastest possible real-time data analytics/covert processing of data. Plus, you're guaranteed to have two independent mains grid power sources, to power the site, by building right next door.

    Note, Facebook, Lulea in Sweden is a similar setup to this. Two 'facebook' datacentres right next to each other.

    Often in these situations, the telltale sign, the contractor in charge of building the first facebook datacentre (in budget, on-time) never gets the job of building the second one right next door. Odd that. The devil is in the detail.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Gov'funded datacentre for data analytics to covertly monitor facebook at scale? Sounds like it.

      "the contractor in charge of building the first facebook datacentre (in budget, on-time) never gets the job of building the second one right next door. Odd that."

      That depends on how badly they might have been burned on price.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Gov'funded datacentre for data analytics to covertly monitor facebook at scale? Sounds like it.

        The contractor or the contractee? It may be that the submitted reply to the second contract proffering may have consisted of only two choice words...

  3. Erik4872

    Silicon Prairie anyone?

    "One of the reasons for the smoke and mirrors is the fact that, as soon as locals find out that a big online business comes to town, they lose their shit."

    Local politicians in these rural communities are happy for tax revenue coming in, but the idea that these data center projects produce tons of local employment is wrong. Once the place is built, you pretty much have a couple of security guards, maybe some HVAC technicians, and a small number of hardware-swappers and cablers -- "smart hands," I believe they're called. Even the smart hands aren't needed as much anymore with the modular data centers cloud vendors are building. They'll just roll in shipping containers full of pre-racked hardware and roll in new ones once enough machines in any one container have hardware problems.

    It's a shame too, because data center technician jobs used to be the stepping stone into IT for a lot of people. But, I doubt this is going to change anytime soon. Land is absurdly cheap and abundant in the middle of the country, as is the little labor you need. I just hate seeing local politicians bending over backwards for these companies, investing a ton of money to get them there, then have the company abandon them or not employ the local population.

    1. stiine Bronze badge

      Re: Silicon Prairie anyone?

      Yay, another tornado magnet.

    2. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Silicon Prairie anyone?

      "Local politicians in these rural communities are happy for tax revenue coming in"

      Yes, they're so happy about tax revenue coming in that they're willing to pay it back to the companies, in advance.

    3. DougS Silver badge

      They produce jobs, but indirectly

      Iowa leads the US in per capita wind energy - something like 40% of Iowa's electrical demand is produced by wind (Texas produces more megawatts, but is way bigger and has way more people so their percentage of total demand is much less)

      Wind energy is big business in Iowa, and the more datacenters that move in the more demand for wind there is - because all the Silicon Valley companies want to build datacenters that use renewable energy.

      Whether the jobs are worth the tax breaks depends on the tax breaks they're getting. At least Iowa isn't stupid like Wisconsin and gives away billions up front for jobs that will never materialize.

      1. fidodogbreath Silver badge

        Re: They produce jobs, but indirectly

        Iowa leads the US in per capita wind energy

        Interesting. I'd assumed it was Washington, DC.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: They produce jobs, but indirectly

          Wind < > hot air.

          The former mainly moves horizontally and outside, the latter vertically and mostly inside buildings..

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Silicon Prairie anyone?

      Face book does not use modular containers . These are huge buildings . The current site I'm at has around 300 trades men. There are two big campuses being built right now by face book.

  4. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Coat

    "neither confirm nor deny"

    So it's confirmed then.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "neither confirm nor deny"

      See. Quantum mechanics does not need us to up end our standard understanding... just assume politicians or sub moral/legal corporations are flipping those photos/qbits.

  5. Alistair Silver badge

    It used to be "I'm from the government, I'm here to help". Now its "We're from the Fortune 500, how can you help us help you?"

    These things suck in a huge way. It's a drain on the local infrastructure budget to build one of these operations, and the fortune 500 are basically saying - "if you want the employment, you need to make the future employees pay for their jobs". Because you know darned well that those 'tax breaks' get applied as upward adjustments on the rest of the local taxpayers.

  6. DougS Silver badge

    There's another reason to use a shell company

    When you are negotiating to buy the land, the price is going to go up if you tell a landowner "hi I'm from [Facebook/Google/Apple/Amazon/Microsoft] I'd like to buy a few hundred acres from you".

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: There's another reason to use a shell company

      Still, nice names... "Siculus", king of Sicily, the land of Mafia - "we're gonna make you an offer you can't refuse"

      Sharka - "do you like our teeth? We are ready to devour you".

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: There's another reason to use a shell company

      If the price goes up too much, corporations just order their bought-and-paid-for lackeys in the local government to take the land by eminent domain.

      Later, the board of directors will shake their well-coiffed heads and chuckle softly at the pathetic, naive bumpkins who thought they could "own" something that the corporation wanted.

  7. Tromos

    Yet another reason to use a shell company

    Money laundering.

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: Yet another reason to use a shell company

      Are there any morally good reasons for the existence of shell companies? It strikes me that the world would be a much better, and more honest, place without them.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Yet another reason to use a shell company

        the world would be a much better, and more honest, place without them

        That even applies to Shell..

        :)

  8. Nano nano

    Literally, a giant sugar lump ?

    Is what a Zuckerberg -should- be ....

  9. Nano nano

    jobs for all

    Why isn't Trump insisting these centres be sited in rust-belt towns ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: jobs for all

      Because heat? Local areas may move industry, because the industry moves.

    2. fidodogbreath Silver badge

      Re: jobs for all

      Because they mostly have Democratic mayors & councils.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: jobs for all

        Not were FB is building their two new data centers

  10. nextenso

    Justifiable ?

    Can this huge use of kit containing metals and substances with limited supply be justified. Photos and conversations that are stored and which I would guess most are never looked at again.

    My daughter is typical of many, if not most. Hundreds of pics taken to keep us in touch with what she is doing at any time, 5% are worth storing, the rest are just of value to that moment in time.

    Simply building more and more data centres is crazy - or is it an accounting matter related to taxable profits declared. As one post said, money laundering.

    1. STOP_FORTH

      Re: Justifiable ?

      All human activity is ultimately pointless. Social media doubly so.

    2. fidodogbreath Silver badge

      Re: Justifiable ?

      Photos and conversations that are stored and which I would guess most are never looked at again.

      Think of it like the mining industry. Before you can mine something, you have to find a place which contains the resource, and then obtain access to it.

      Data is not finite, and the same data can be mined over and over again. You just need to build places to keep it. Every photo, post, like, click-through, etc. is just raw material that can be "extracted" and sold over and over again.

      Facebook and their ilk don't give a shit whether you ever look at any of that stuff again; but if you do, they'll be watching.

  11. mr.K

    Free market?

    Can somebody in USA start to advocate for a free market again?

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Free market?

      Or at least don't give free the meaning "companies should be free from rules, taxes, and citizen oversight".

      If highly profitable companies don't pay taxes, someone else will....

  12. BebopWeBop Silver badge
    Trollface

    Residents start demanding actual benefits for their community, rather than empty platitudes about the transformative power of the digital economy and jobs for out-of-town engineers

    Quite - they don't like it up em.....

  13. RobertLongshaft

    $2m per employee. And how long does it take a wage slave bot to pay back $2m in state taxes? My guess is they never do.

    More Corporatism from the company which pushes Socialism, like typical leftists its always do as we say not as we do.

    1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
      FAIL

      Yet again, a "typical rightist" posts a claim about what "typical leftists" do, whilst actually talking about a "typical rightist" trait. The projection is massive.

      By the way, why do you admire so much a group of people who are out to screw you... and not in a good way!

  14. E 2
    Unhappy

    Sigint infrastructure, or possibly Russo-Republican vote manipulation infrastructure.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not mutually exclusive..

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