Packet, a bare metal automation platform for developers, is collaborating with SBA Communications to create an edge data center operational model with direct wireless connectivity. The two companies have broken ground on the first Boston edge data center location at an SBA cell tower site in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Customer availability is expected by the end of 2018.
“We are excited to partner with Packet to bring the power of edge computing to our tower site in Foxborough, the first of what we expect will be many sites in our extensive portfolio to become distributed network connectivity points for emerging 5G and edge computing applications,” Clay Moran, director of strategy at SBA said.
Packet is expanding its edge computing presence with some 50 new sites under development. In a departure from the hyperscale cloud model, Packet is inviting physical and supply chain partners to participate in what is expected to be a highly disaggregated and rapidly expanding ecosystem.
“We view this initiative as one similar to what we are seeing from the other towercos, including CCI’s working relationship with Vapor IO (who is also working with other tower cos outside of CCI), and AMT’s goal of achieving 25% revenue from nonmacro sites,” wrote Jennifer Fritsche, senior analyst, Wells Fargo. “We continue to believe the “edge” theme is in its very early innings. In our view the towers are in a position to play a very significant role in this developing theme. The base of the tower is a logical place for a micro edge data center given the power and fiber to the location as well as the security in place. We look for more developments around this theme to come in 2019.”
The Boston edge location is the first of many planned site expansions in collaboration with SBA and other cell tower companies. In addition to offering its cloud services, Packet will also enable solutions for the 3.5 GHz CBRS band, while also offering a clear path for additional spectrum bands and the proliferation of 5G technologies and shared spectrum solutions.
“With our announcement today, we are delivering on our promise to reinvent the service provider model and deliver dynamic ‘one click’ cloud native infrastructure including wireless access,” said Ihab Tarazi, CTO at Packet. “Our customers will also have a clear path for IoT and Public Cloud integration providing high performance for their edge applications.”