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Amazon to Create a Cloud Infrastructure Region in Western Canada

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(Bloomberg) -- Amazon.com Inc.’s cloud computing business will spend the next few years expanding its technology infrastructure in Western Canada, building data centers to boost connectivity speed and information storage within the country.

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Amazon Web Services will open a new infrastructure region around Calgary, Alberta, to expand its Canadian operations beyond its existing one in Montreal, the Seattle-based company said Monday in a statement.

Amazon said the new AWS Canada West region will allow more developers and companies -- as well as government, education and nonprofit organizations -- to run applications and serve end-users from data centers within a country that spans about 7,000 kilometers (4,350 miles) and five time zones. The move will also allows western Canadian businesses to keep their data closer rather than tapping Montreal or U.S. sites.

“By having a region in the west, it complements what we anticipate will be this proliferation of internet-connected devices that will leverage 5G,” Eric Gales, general manager of AWS Canada, said in a phone interview. “It means that those devices do not need to be transmitted, for example, from Calgary to Montreal.”

Long-Term Investment

The Alberta region is expected to be operational by late 2023 or early 2024 and will add to the 81 so-called “availability zones” around the world for Amazon Web Services.

Existing Canadian customers include Air Canada, yoga-wear maker Lululemon Athletica Inc., fertilizer producer Nutrien Ltd. as well as government agencies, health authorities and software companies. International entities that serve customers in Canada will also be able to use Amazon’s infrastructure, Gales said.

The Amazon division plans to spend more than $3 billion by 2037 to build, operate and maintain the Alberta infrastructure, creating 950 full-time Canadian jobs, the company said. The money is part of an estimated $17 billion AWS plans to invest in the country over about 16 years.

“This major investment from AWS again demonstrates that Alberta is establishing itself as a dominant player in digital technology and innovation,” Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said in Amazon’s statement, adding that the investment helps the oil-rich province diversify its economy.

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