In looking at the Des Moines Register's website yesterday, I read an opinion of someone who was complaining about the tax breaks given to both Microsoft and Google announced plans to build huge data centers in the state of Iowa. The complaint is that for the mere support of 50-75 high paying jobs per facility, and a burden on our electrical system we are trading off for huge tax breaks.
For me, this goes much deeper.
First, Google and Microsoft, even if they hire outside labor, that labor will be spending money when they are building the facilities. Being that these are huge, it will probably end up being a boon to local contractors that probably have been hurt by the downturn in the housing market (while in Iowa it hasn't been as bad as other places, it certainly has had an affect).
Second, because they are coming, there will be an uptick in investment in the infratstructure of both the electrical and internet infrastructure of Iowa. I know that Iowa has a few initiatives to build large scale wind farms, and I'm a big fan (ha ha) of that. We are used to cheap electrical prices, and I don't want that to change, but the demand from both of these, while it will be big, will only prod companies to further invest in the power generating capabilities of the state. As far as the internet goes, Iowa does not have some huge hubs of where internet traffic goes. If you take a look at the map, places like Minneapolis, Chicago, St. Louis have quite a number of giant pipes that go through their city. Because you would have both companies wanting multiple connections through multiple routes to the internet (to avoid things such as fiber cuts, or etc), this will prod development to bring multiple large lines to Iowa.
Having more cheap power and more redundant places to get to the internet will look very tempting to other companies that may be considering a place to put people for an IT company. Iowa has a fairly well educated workforce, but we still loose a lot of young people because a lot of the type of jobs that people want aren't here...but there is no reason why they couldn't be.
I'm thrilled that they're both coming and I have high hopes with what may follow and be spurred on by both Google and Microsoft building data centers here.