DigitalBridge Group (NYSE: DBRG) has made a A$30m ($20.9m USD) equity investment into Leading Edge Data Centres, a regional data center operator in Australia, to fund the company’s expansion of its data center portfolio across Regional Australia. Definitionally, Regional Australia includes towns and small cities outside of Australia’s major capital cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, and Canberra.

Leading Edge Data Centres – Overview

Leading Edge Data Centres was founded in 2018 and is headquartered in North Sydney, New South Wales (NSW). The company operates Tier III (N+1) colocation facilities across greater metropolitan and regional locations within Australia. Presently, Leading Edge Data Centres has four operational and fully networked data centers, with two additional facilities under construction:

  • Operational: Newcastle, Tamworth, Dubbo, and Albury – all in New South Wales (NSW)
  • Under Construction: Wagga Wagga and Coffs Harbour – both in New South Wales (NSW) and scheduled to be completed within three months

DigitalBridge’s A$30m ($20.9m USD) equity investment will help fund the continued deployment of Leading Edge Data Centres’ regional edge network in Australia, as outlined below.

Deployment Plan

Leading Edge Data Centres’ roll-out involves an initial 14 locations in New South Wales (Phase 1), followed by 7 locations in Victoria (Phase 2), and 10 locations in Queensland (Phase 3). To begin with, over the next 3 years, the company plans to deliver on more than 20 regional data centers, comprising 15 megawatts of power capacity, across these three Australian states.

New South Wales (NSW)

New South Wales (NSW) is a state located in Australia’s southeast, with Sydney being its capital. Within NSW, Leading Edge Data Centres targets being operational in 14 locations, namely Newcastle, Tamworth, Dubbo, Albury, Wagga Wagga, Coffs Harbour, Parkes, Bathurst, Newcastle Airport, Gosford, Orange, Wollongong, Port Macquarie, and Nowra.

New South Wales (NSW) Data Center Map Leading Edge Data Centres

As noted previously, Leading Edge is already operational in Newcastle, Tamworth, Dubbo, and Albury, while under construction in Wagga Wagga and Coffs Harbour.

Victoria

Victoria is a state located in Australia’s southeast, with Melbourne being its capital. Within Victoria, Leading Edge Data Centres aims to be operational in 7 locations, namely Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat, Mildura, Shepparton, Traralgon, and Horsham.

Victoria Data Center Map Leading Edge Data Centres

In terms of timing, Leading Edge plans to expand in Victoria during 2022 and 2023.

Queensland

Queensland is a state located in Australia’s northeast, with Brisbane being its capital. Within Queensland, Leading Edge Data Centres’ goal is to be operational in 10 locations, namely Gold Coast, Gladstone, Hervey Bay, Sunshine Coast, Bundaberg, Rockhampton, Townsville, Cairns, Mackay, and Toowoomba.

Queensland Data Center Map Leading Edge Data Centres

Products and Services

Leading Edge Data Centres’ colocation services are offered through the company’s modular data centers, which are prefabricated and built locally offsite, in Newcastle, New South Wales (NSW). Further, the company’s data center footprints have the ability to scale from the following three distinct configurations: 8 racks (Luna), 30 racks (Atlas), and 75 racks (Titan).

To this end, in May 2020, Leading Edge Data Centres partnered with Schneider Electric for its supply of prefabricated data center modules. The company used these modules for its initial 6 sites, which will host 75 racks and feature 5 kW per rack power density.

Connectivity

Leading Edge Data Centres’ customers can setup a backup in one of its regional data centers or connect to the company’s hub at Equinix’s SY3 in Sydney, Australia. Importantly, Equinix’s SY3 is near Sydney’s central business district (CBD) and offers access to the Southern Cross Cable, which provides rich network interconnection in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region.

Management

Leading Edge Data Centres is headed by Chris Thorpe, as its founder and Chief Executive Officer.

Capital Raising

To-date, Leading Edge Data Centres has raised a total of A$60m ($41.7m USD) of funding. Firstly, in 2020, the company secured A$20m ($13.9m USD) from Washington H. Soul Pattinson, a publicly-traded Australian investment firm. Subsequently, in 2021, DigitalBridge made an initial A$5m ($3.5m USD) investment in Leading Edge.

DigitalBridge – Edge Data Centers and Australia

DigitalBridge is an active investor in both the digital infrastructure sub-sector of edge data centers, as well as Australia as a geographic region. Below are further details on DigitalBridge’s investments under these two classifications:

Edge Data Centers

DigitalBridge has exposure to edge data center operators including AtlasEdge Data Centres, DataBank, and EdgePresence:

  • AtlasEdge Data Centres: portfolio comprises 100+ carrier-neutral colocation facilities across 11 European countries. Particularly, these countries are Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom
  • DataBank: portfolio comprises 65+ facilities, in 27+ markets, across 2.0 million sqft of raised floor space, primarily in the United States. Additionally, DataBank owns an interest in EdgePresence which operates modular, purpose-built edge data centers in multiple U.S. markets

Australia

DigitalBridge, through Vantage Data Centers (APAC), is developing a hyperscale data center in Melbourne, Australia, which will be known as MEL1. This facility is located in Tullamarine, a suburb of Melbourne, positioning it 3.7 miles (6 kilometers) from Melbourne Airport. MEL1 sits on a 7-acre campus and will comprise three multi-story data centers, once fully built-out.

Upon completion, Vantage’s Melbourne, Australia campus will offer 48 megawatts of critical IT load across 270k sqft (25k sqm) of space. Finally, Vantage is scheduling the first phase of MEL1 for completion in early 2023, comprising 8 megawatts of IT load.

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