Telcos battle for Google business

13 Mar 2003

At least four telecoms firms are competing for a major share of internet search engine giant Google’s connectivity needs when the firm locates in Dublin.

Cable & Wireless, Global Crossing, Level 3 and Esat BT are competing for the business of handling the major surge of network traffic that will hit the 200-job Google operations centre that was announced for Dublin yesterday. The centre will be a key link in Google’s global business, serving Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

When announcing the major project yesterday, Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Mary Harney TD acknowledged the key role played by the telecoms service companies in Dublin. She said they had “showed a determination to win this project for Ireland”.

An IDA spokesman said of the telecoms firms: “The way the local telecoms industry pulled together on this one was inspirational. It was the most creative, innovative and price-conscious effort we’ve seen to date.” He added that the surplus data centres and the available capacity from Global Crossing were key to Google’s decision.

The IDA spokesman added that the most likely location for the new Google operations centre would be Citywest. “Because of connectivity reasons this will be the key location for it. In a sense it is like a phoenix out of the ashes when you compare it to the collapse of several data centres in Dublin over the past couple of years. Over half of the internet searches in Europe, Middle East and Africa will come through Dublin.”

The Google search engine has an index of more than three billion web pages and responds to more than 200 million search queries every day.

The IDA spokesman went on to say that landing Google was key to the Government’s strategy for building a digital content industry in Ireland. “We badly wanted a flagship project. We are in the same mood today as when we landed projects like Microsoft, Dell, IBM and Intel. The competition was fierce between Dublin and the city of Zurich for this landmark project. This is thrilling.”

According to sources, out of the competition for the business of running Google’s connectivity needs, the successful company will most likely be given 70pc of the business, with the remainder being divided amongst two other successful candidates.

A spokesperson for Esat BT confirmed that the company was in discussions with Google, but that no final decision or deal has been signed. “We have a team working on it and BT has a fantastic relationship with Google in the US. Nothing has been signed yet but we are optimistic.”

“No deal is in the bag yet and we will await Google’s final decision on the matter. We are competing against a number of providers,” she concluded.

By John Kennedy