Greece draws tech giants from around the world
Technology giant Google will establish regional cloud services operations in Greece, the latest in a string of investments by the world’s leading technology companies in the country and confirming Greece’s role as an emerging tech hub in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The €2.2 billion investment is expected to create 20,000 jobs by the end of the decade and follows recent data center investments by Microsoft, Amazon, Digital Realty and Lancom. Greece now boasts 18 data centers in total: 11 around Athens, five around Thessaloniki, and one each in Crete and in the central region of Thessaly.
In the last five years, Greece has undergone a profound digital transformation, embracing technology, building new ICT infrastructure, adopting widespread e-government services and online commerce. A vibrant tech startup scene has also emerged, drawing more than €500 million in investments last year.
To cement its role as a digital hub, Greece has been building out its communications infrastructure. In July, Greece signed a deal with Saudi Arabia to develop an €800 million high speed data cable – the East to Med Data Corridor – that will help establish Greece as a digital gateway to Europe.
Greece is also one of the first countries in the world to begin licensing 5G spectrum with more than half the population already covered. Some €415 million in European Union funds have been allocated to broadband infrastructure in Greece, and €700 million has been budgeted for ultrafast broadband infrastructure. By 2023, it is projected that Greece’s mobile network operators will have invested about €3 billion in upgrades.
On a local level, U.S. tech giant Amazon, which last year established a regional cloud computing hub in Greece, has announced plans to turn Naxos – the largest island in the Cyclades – into a smart island. The project incorporates 17 initiatives that include using drones for specialized deliveries and advanced sensors to help manage everything from waste services to marine traffic and parking.