Global Summit: No infra sector as dependable as data

Traditional ownership and procurement of fibre is also set to change, delegates in Berlin heard.

Data and digital infrastructure are the most predictable sectors in the asset class, according to Jon Mauck, managing director of Digital Colony.

Mauck told delegates at Infrastructure Investor’s Global Summit in Berlin that while other sectors declined during the global financial crisis, the rise of data centres grew with the continued demand.

“For infrastructure investors, you’ve got a predictable asset class that’s not correlated to GDP like other sectors,” he said, adding that data is not a commodity as in the traditional sense.

Mauck’s communications infrastructure firm Digital Bridge recently teamed up with Los Angeles-based real estate investment trust Colony NorthStar to reach a $1.4 billion first close on its debut infrastructure fund.

He was joined on the panel by Christopher Ehrke, partner at Arcus Infrastructure Partners, who charted the increased entry into the fibre broadband sector by infrastructure funds and even communities themselves. Ehrke added that the growth of entrants into the sector has made the traditional incumbents fearful of losing out, a point expanded upon by Anand Babu, founder of Google-owned Sidewalk Labs.

“The role of the city has got to change,” he said. “The city needs to become a point of service rather than just a physical location. I expect new concession models in the next five years.”