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Mike Sheard, CEO of iConnect Montana Supports SB 359 to Attract Large Data Centers Like Facebook, Google, Amazon, etc.

March 27, 2017View for printing

Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, my name is Mike Sheard. I'm the CEO of iConnect Montana http://www.iconnectmontana.com , a Montana corporation that has operated colocation and data center facilities in the state since 1999. Our newest and largest facility is a 43,000 square foot data center located in Billings.

SB 359 http://leg.mt.gov/bills/2017/BillPdf/SB0359.pdf

Our state actually has much to offer data center operators or any company that is looking for a great home for their information technology operations. Montana offers a favorable business environment, a skilled labor force, low entry and operating costs. We also have access to multiple, low-latency, and competitively priced fiber-optic networks that link directly to the major network hubs in Seattle, Chicago, Denver and Calgary.

Finally - - and this is a key factor for data center operations - - compared to many other locations across the U.S., Montana offers very low risk of service disruptions due to both man-made and natural incidents. We offer safety and security.

Due to these comparative advantages, iConnect Montana has a growing and successful track record of convincing companies to move their servers and other equipment from higher-cost data centers in places like California to our data center in Billings. Sometimes, the systems administrators and other IT people at these companies are pretty skeptical about moving their equipment to what they consider to be a rural and remote location like Montana. However, oftentimes their CFOs or upper management see the lower costs of service available in Montana and make the decision to give us a try. Invariably, not only are the financial officers at these companies happy, but due to the quality of the services we offer, even the technical people are surprised and delighted with the decision to move into our data center.

Obviously this bill is focused on bringing in new, and very large data centers to Montana and the provisions of the bill don't appear to offer any direct benefits to iConnect Montana. However, we still strongly support the bill and would welcome the types of data center operations to our state that the bill speaks to. We know from experience that Montana is a great place for data centers and we'd like to see more locate here. I'd be happy to try to answer any questions and I also want to extend an invitation to committee members that any time you plan to be in Billings, and are interested in seeing our data center, please contact me and I'll arrange for a tour - we love to show it off.

Thank you.

Mike Sheard mike@iconnectmontana.com
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