Microsoft has announced that it will invest £2.5 billion over the next three years to expand its data centre infrastructure
The UK chancellor Jeremy Hunt has emphasised that Microsoft’s investment is critical for continued growth and innovation within the UK technology sector, propelling the UK to become a global technology superpower.
Microsoft is seeking to expand its data centre infrastructure across the UK, with plans new sites in London and Cardiff, and potentially the North of England in the future. In total, the investment should allow the company to will double its number of data centres in the UK.
This data centres will be supported by over 20,000 additional Graphic Processing Units by 2026, a processing technology that is crucial for machine learning and the further development of AI.
“Today’s announcement is a turning point for the future of AI infrastructure and development in the UK,” said Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in a statement yesterday.
“Microsoft is committed as a company to ensuring that the UK as a country has world-leading AI infrastructure,” said Microsoft President Brad Smith.
In addition to infrastructure expansion, Microsoft says the investment will also allow the company to train over one million people in AI by working in partnership with various learning and non-profit partners.
This cash injection is Microsoft’s largest ever investment in the UK since it began operating in the country 40 years ago. It also follows the £500 million investment in AI announced in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement last week, which aims to fund further innovation centres and help make the UK an AI powerhouse.
The UK’s AI sector currently contributes £3.7 billion to the UK economy and employs 50,000 people countrywide.
AI has dominated the UK news this week, as just yesterday the UK government published draft guidance, developed with The Alan Turing Institute and the Innovate UK BridgeAI programme, to help businesses make the most of emerging AI technology and to ensure its safe usage in workplaces.
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