Global data centre operator Equinix has announced that it has acquired over 34 acres of land in Ashburn, Virginia, to expand its International Business Exchange (IBX) data centre estate in the key U.S. connectivity hub.

The plot, which was purchased for $34.5 million (approx. £28 million), is located close to Equinix’s existing Ashburn data centre campus. The company hopes that the new land will provide enough space to construct multiple new data centre sites.

Equinix currently operates 10 IBX data centres within the Washington, D.C. metro area, offering over 500,000sq.ft and serving more than 850 customers. According to an official press release, this represents the largest internet exchange point in North America and one of the largest globally.

In October 2015, Equinix announced its plans to open its North Ashburn data centre campus, close to its existing facilities in the area. On completion, the expansion will incorporate five new data centres, offering more than one million square feet of new space.

The recent plot purchase marks the latest step in Equinix’s strategy to buy up land and buildings to increase ownership of Equinix assets. Over the last year, the company has bought land to expand key data centre estates in Ashburn, Silicon Valley, and Chicago. It has also purchased buildings in Amsterdam, Paris and Rio de Janeiro.

Speaking on the new acquisition, Karl Strohmeyer, Equinix President for the Americas, said that the rapid shift to digital is pushing businesses’ IT operations to the edge where they are better able to serve their customers, partners, and employees.

‘The acquisition of this property will enable Equinix to accommodate the growing number of global companies that are solving the digital edge through interconnection with the robust ecosystem of strategic business partners located at Equinix’s Ashburn campus,’ he said.

Kelly Morgan, research VP at 451 Research further commented that the Northern Virginia multi-tenant data centre market is the largest in the U.S. by operational square feet. She added that the sector is expected to continue to grow rapidly, with several new facilities due to go online over the next few years.

‘The market has seen consistently strong demand, enabling providers like Equinix to fill large builds quickly. Northern Virginia not only attracts data centre tenants from all over the globe interested in connectivity, but providers there serve government agencies and local businesses,’ she said.