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Rakuten to Establish Data Center in Ishikari Bay New Port, Aiming for Construction to Start in 2024 or Later

2023年12月14日 09時00分

Interviews with several sources revealed on November 13 that Rakuten Group, Inc. (headquarters: Tokyo) is planning to build a data center (DC) in the Ishikari Bay New Port area of Ishikari City. This data center will have an estimated power capacity of around 10–15 megawatts. By using renewable energy power produced in Hokkaido, it will be an eco-friendly facility used for their own business operations. Construction is apparently targeted to start in or after 2024.

Near the construction site, KCCS is proceeding with DC development.

The construction site covers some 1.8 hectares in the Shinko Chuo area of Ishikari City. The Rakuten Group plans to acquire the land from Ishikari Development Co., Ltd. (headquarters: Ishikari). Against the backdrop of abundant renewable energy resources nearby, other companies are also planning data center developments in the area, including KYOCERA Communication Systems Co., Ltd. (KCCS, headquarters: Kyoto), a subsidiary of KDDI Corporation, and Ishikari Renewable Energy-Run Data Center No. 1, established by Flower Communications, marking an increasing industry concentration.

Rakuten plans to use the data center primarily for its own operations and those of its subsidiaries. While plans emerged in 2022 to start development in the summer of 2023, issues like rising material costs and labor shortages have apparently delayed the schedule, prompting a review. Rakuten’s public relations department declined to comment on the plans when asked, stating “We cannot confirm anything at this time.”

The company is strengthening its telecommunications infrastructure. Its subsidiary Rakuten Mobile (headquarters: Tokyo) signed an agreement with Japan’s three major carrier companies—NTT Communications Corporation, KDDI Corporation, and SoftBank Corp.—in October 2021 to jointly lay a high-capacity submarine optical cable connecting Hokkaido and Akita Prefecture. This aims to address increasing data traffic and enhance network redundancy needed in case of major disasters. The approximately 770 km-long cable is scheduled for completion by the end of 2023 and will be brought ashore in the Ishikari Bay New Port area.

After starting as an e-commerce platform provider, Rakuten ventured into mobile operations with the establishment of Rakuten Mobile in 2018. Since then, the company has been deploying mobile base stations across the country. This October, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications announced the allocation of the 700 MHz band within the 700-900 MHz frequency band, deemed suitable for mobile services, known as the “platinum band,” to Rakuten Mobile.

(Excerpt from an article on November 14, 2023)

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