While Northern Virginia is often considered the center of the internet, it’s running out of power, and real estate is increasingly more expensive. Looking ahead for the long term, is "QLoop," the name given to a hyperscale data center being developed just north of Virginia, in Frederick, Maryland, and it is already securing customers.
“The hub of infrastructure in the Northern Virginia marketplace is completely constrained. There's very little land left in this corridor and a lot of it is starting to stretch out to the south down to Manassas,” said Josh Snowhorn, Founder & CEO, Quantum Loophole, Inc. — the company that owns the QLoop data center. “Quantum Loophole is quite unique in that we’re building a data center campus to support hyperscale infrastructure, but we don’t actually build data centers. We are purely land, energy, water, and most importantly on this call, fiber optics.”
Quantum Loophole is building a massive 43-mile fiber ring, connecting Ashburn, Va., and Frederick, Md., that is composed of 34 two-inch ducts with the ability to accommodate 6,912 fiber trunks with a total capacity of 235,000 strands of fiber in the system. But it’s had to do some heavy lifting – and some heavy drilling - along the way.
“The first, and one of the most important things we had to do was cross the Potomac River,” said Snowhorn. “If anyone in the industry has done river crossings, they know exactly how exceedingly difficult it is. Drilling had to go 91 feet below the bedrock of the Potomac to meet approval from the Army Corps of Engineers to cross the river. The total underground boring run was 3,900 feet long.
The fiber ring connects to a former Alcoa aluminum smelting property of over 2,000 acres. Quantum Loophole selected the site for its existing power infrastructure left over from Alcoa days, currently able to deliver a gigawatt of transmission power capability and able to scale upward as needed to 2.4 gigawatts at present. Supplementing fiber and power is access to over 7 million gallons of greywater for data center cooling needs which come from treated sewage in the City of Frederick.
Carriers who have already committed to building data centers at Quantum Loophole include Comcast and Verizon. To learn more about the massive construction and infrastructure necessary to support hyperscale data center construction, tune into the latest Fiber for Breakfast podcast.