CHARLESTON, West Virginia – The West Virginia Economic Development Authority has approved a $2.2 million loan to Alpha Technologies, Inc., to build a 35-mile fiber optic ring to offer its customers a 1 gigabit connection to its data center in South Charleston.
“This will give us a huge competitive advantage in recruiting and maintaining business,” Alpha Technologies CEO Doug Tate said. “And in turn, having this data center with a fast fiber optic connection helps the state attract businesses.”
Alpha Technologies offers data center services, or cloud services, such as off-site data storage, disaster recovery, and hosted servers for commercial, government, and non-profit customers. The fiber optic ring will allow customers to connect to its data center with a minimum rate of 1 gigabit of connectivity, which is about 100 times faster than a typical internet connection.
“It’s like comparing a soda straw to a fire hose,” Tate said.
The total cost of the project is about $5 million. All the fiber cable will be buried underground, making it secure from almost all typical environmental threats to above-ground utilities. The ring will extend from Chestnut Street in South Charleston on the western end to 57th Street in Kanawha City on the eastern end. It will cross the Kanawha River at 31st Street, run behind the capitol complex, cross the Elk River at Donnelly Street, then cross back under the Kanawha River at Patrick Street on the West Side.
“Alpha is a company we’ve worked with for a long time, and we’re thrilled to see them continue to grow,” said Keith Burdette, secretary of the Department of Commerce and executive director of the West Virginia Development Office.
The company currently has 38 employees and anticipates growing its workforce once the fiber optic ring is in place.
Alpha Technologies started in 2000 building and maintaining computer and telephone networks. In 2012, the Development Office facilitated a loan for about $2.7 million through the West Virginia Economic Development Authority so the company could acquire a data center from Dow on what used to be Union Carbide’s research campus and is now the West Virginia Regional Technology Park in South Charleston.
The data center is comparable to some of the highest tiered commercial data centers in the United States. That means the center is up and online all the time with multiple levels of redundancy for power, climate control, security, and other measures. Alpha Technologies has the only private Tier 3 data center in West Virginia to the best of their knowledge, company officials said.
The data center has been audited and received accreditation for the financial, medical, and personal credit sectors. The company has clients from those sectors as well as almost all others in the state.