EdgePresence has embarked on an aggressive effort to deploy low-cost edge data centers nationally at cell tower sites in tier 2 and tier 3 markets.
Through partnerships with Schneider Electric and its distributor Accu-Tech, EdgePresence is deploying fully integrated Schneider Electric EcoStruxure Data Center solutions, which are redundant 12-cabinet microdata centers that serve 20 to 30 key clients in these markets that need more connectivity and more options for redundancy.
Doug Recker, CEO of EdgePresence, whose background is in building, owning and operating data centers, has developed a two-phase approach that targets enterprises initially and then serves as a carrier-neutral solution to wireless carriers’ 5G edge compute needs.
“We have a business model that serves enterprises, and it can survive without 5G. We serve doctors’ offices, cloud providers, local hospitals and government,” Recker said. “I need revenue to sustain my business. I have employees to pay and investors to pay back. Enterprises are a very sustainable business model. When 5G comes, our data centers will already be in place and ready for the content providers and the carriers.”
When it comes time for the wireless carriers to build out 5G to tier 2 and tier 3 markets, Recker’s solution means carriers won’t have to build their own edge data centers. It makes it easier and quicker to deploy 5G.
“Carriers can buy access from me to the carrier hotel or for access to the internet at a fraction of the cost of building their own facilities,” Recker said. “No reason to deploy new shelters or upgrade their current data centers when they can save the capex by collocating with me. Just rent the space you need.”
Why Cell Tower Sites?
EdgePresence has signed a one-year contract with American Tower and has helped them deploy six data centers. It has plans to deploy at sites belonging to SBA Communications, Vertical Bridge and Crown Castle International.
“We need the ability to go anywhere,” Recker said. “I need space in all kinds of markets, and cell tower sites are my number one choice. Cell towers have the power and usually have fiber and a secure compound. It is easier to get permitted to deploy there. It is a whole new revenue stream that is waiting for them.”
These edge data centers also represent opportunities for tower services companies to deploy more equipment at the cell tower site and provide maintenance services.
Each structure has the same 12-cabinet redundant data center form factor, and the maintenance contracts will be the same, together with the same monitoring capability. Recker is looking to partner with one or more tower services companies to maintain the data centers.
“Maintenance is extremely important when we are deploying these data centers in third-tier markets around the country,” Recker said. We need people in place to who will fix them and maintain them. We went with Schneider Electric because it has a very low failure rate. The shelter must be cost-effective so we can make our money back quickly.”
EdgePresence has recently deployed a data center at a cell tower site in Statesboro, Georgia, and it built dark fiber back to the closest carrier hotel. Now, enterprises in Statesboro have access to more than 26 internet service providers, instead of one. They can use the facility for redundancy and collocation.
The key to edge compute is timing. If EdgePresence waits until 5G reaches the tier 2 and tier 3 markets to deploy its data centers, it might be too late. Another company may have already deployed a data center and be in position to fill that need. The company will deploy its next data center in Jacksonville, Florida, next week and then in Gainesville, Florida, the week after that.
“Our goal is to have 16 data centers deployed by the end of the year and have them 60 percent occupied,” Recker said. “Then it’s time to go turbo, and we will deploy more than 50 data centers in the next 16 months. If I am the first data center in a market, there is no need for another one. That’s why quick deployment is important.”