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Microsoft invests £2.6bn in digital infrastructure in Australia

Written by Thu 26 Oct 2023

Microsoft announced a £2.6 billion ($3.1 billion) investment to expand artificial intelligence (AI) and hyperscale cloud computing infrastructure in Australia.

Over the next two years, the investment will increase the Microsoft’s computing capacity by 250%.

“This is our largest investment in Microsoft’s 40-year history in Australia and a testament to our commitment to the country’s growth and prosperity in the AI era,” said Brad Smith, Vice Chair and President of Microsoft.

This investment is set to grow the technology company’s local data centre footprint from 20 sites to a total of 29 spread across Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney.

The new data centres will support the company’s 2030 sustainability goals, including carbon negativity, water positivity, and zero waste.

Microsoft will use low-carbon materials in construction, employ renewable energy sources, implement advanced water-cooling techniques, and reduce diesel fuel consumption during operation.

In 2024, Microsoft will establish the Datacentre Academy in Australia in collaboration with TAFE NSW. The curriculum will focus on essential operational roles including such as data centre technicians, critical environment specialists, inventory and asset management professionals, and IT operations personnel.

“This is a major investment in the skills and workers of the future, which will help Australia to strengthen our position as a world-leading economy,” said Anthony Albanese, Prime Minister of Australia.

This expansion will help the Microsoft meet increasing demand for cloud computing services, set to nearly double from £6.3 billion ($7.6 billion) in 2022 to £11.6 billion ($14 billion) in 2026.

“We know the use of cloud and AI will be critical to lifting productivity in Australia. This investment will help workers and businesses leverage these technologies to stay competitive and deliver the products Australians want,” said Bran Black, Chief Executive of the Business Council.

Microsoft said the investment also intends to position Australia to benefit from the economic growth and innovation of generative AI adoption. If implemented swiftly generative AI technology could contribute £59 billion ($71.6 billion) a year to Australia’s economy by 2030, according to a report by Tech Council of Australia and Microsoft.

Microsoft has committed to support an additional 300,000 Australians as part of its global skills programme. The programme provides access to learning resources, certifications, and job seeking tools to help people gain the skills and to succeed in the digital economy.

Microsoft also announced a partnership with the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD). This collaboration, known as Microsoft-Australian Signals Directorate Cyber Shield (MACS), aims to enhance cyber threat protection for Australian residents, businesses, and Government entities by advancing national threat intelligence sharing capabilities. It focuses on detecting, analysing, and defending against sophisticated nation-state cyber threats.

“The… investments and initiatives we announced today build on our long-term commitment to Australia but are squarely focused on the future. They will not only enable a safer and more secure digital economy, but also provide a platform to foster growth and innovation in the era of AI,” said Steven Worrall, Managing Director at Microsoft Australia and New Zealand.


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Written by Thu 26 Oct 2023

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