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Facebook's new $1.5bn US data centre will be world's "most advanced" facility

Facebook is prepping what's being touted as the world's "most technologically advanced" data centre in the city of Altoona, Iowa, according to a new report.

Regional Iowa newspaper the Des Moines Register, citing two unnamed lawmakers familiar with the project, reported over the weekend that city leaders have already approved a 1.4 million square-foot facility, which is expected to be completed in two $500 million (£327.6m) phases. All told, however, the experts predicted the facility will cost Facebook $1.5 billion (£982.9m).

The new, massive data centre will reportedly sit on a 200-acre site, which is located in close proximity to power and water utilities, and an extensive fibre optic cable system. Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the report.

It appears that the massive data centre will be at least partially powered using wind energy. According to the report, Facebook is seeking tax credits for wind energy production as part of the project, though these incentives would require US state-level legislative action.

The social network has faced heat in the past from environmental advocacy groups like Greenpeace, which criticised Facebook for using coal to power one of its massive data centres. Facebook has since increased its focus on sustainability efforts, including recently launching a service that lets users check out the sites' energy consumption.

Meanwhile, Facebook is also gearing up to launch three new "cold storage" data centres elsewhere in the US to store old and rarely viewed images. Unlike its traditional "hot servers," which are always on and ready to deliver data, the servers at these cold storage facilities will be asleep, awaiting a request for old material. Facebook is aiming to have the first of three facilities operational by autumn.