Despite concerns over restricted power supplies, France is set to see considerable growth in the data centre arena over the next three years, with large expansions planned for cities outside of Paris.

According to a new report, Data Centres France, released by research body BroadGroup, the French data centre footprint will increase by around 20% by 2020.

However, the research suggests that power is a constant concern for data centre investors, particularly in the Paris area. ‘With a reliance on nuclear power which has declined in generating capacity over the past two years, as well a potential diversion of power for an Olympic bid in an already restricted market, an increased need for imported energy will occur in the short term,’ explained Philip Low, chairman at BroadGroup.

‘With a reliance on nuclear power which has declined in generating capacity over the past two years, as well a potential diversion of power for an Olympic bid in an already restricted market, an increased need for imported energy will occur in the short term,’ explained Philip Low, chairman at BroadGroup.

Low noted that planned developments in renewable energy supplies, if achieved, could meet this shortfall – but not until 2023.

France is Europe’s third largest data centre market and while interest in and around the country’s capital is declining due to power limitations, there is a marked rise in investment in other locations such as Marseille, Lyon and Strasbourg.

As France’s second largest city, Marseille offers strong fibre and international connectivity, as well as proximity to markets in Africa and the Middle East. The BroadGroup report mentions particular efforts by Interxion to develop additional capacity in the city.

The analysis further raises the need for France to establish a competitive strategy to attract foreign investment. It also considers whether hyperscale organisations, which are yet to commit to market entry, would partner with local operators or choose to make the move into France alone.

Microsoft and Amazon Web Services are both fighting to level each other on availability in the region. Last year, AWS announced that it would be building a data centre in Paris. One month after this news, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said that Azure data centre facilities would roll out in various locations around France over the course of 2017 as part of a $3 billion European expansion.