India will require an additional data centre capacity of 1.7 – 3.6 Gigawatt (GW)


In a bid to assess whether India’s data centre capacity will meet the nation’s growing digital needs, Cushman & Wakefield today unveiled a groundbreaking report: “Is India Building Enough to Power its Digital Transformation?”. Through a first-of-its-kind analysis, the report conservatively estimates the potential data centre capacity India will require to align with other major economies. The findings reveal a potential for an additional 1.7-3.6 GW data centre capacity, over and above the planned development of 2.32 GW Colo capacity, taking the potential of possible data centre capacity to over 5 GW. 

The report states that at over 19GB, Indians have been the highest consumers of data per month among comparable nations. Despite this, India today lags in internet and smartphone penetration, reflecting the scale and extent that the data centre segment is headed towards.

According to the data, India’s Colo data centre capacity stood at 977 MW across the top 7 cities (H2 2023). Around 258 MW out of this was built in 2023 – witnessing a 105% YoY growth over the installed capacity in 2022. India’s current under-construction Colo capacity addition stands at 1.03 GW for 2024-2028, with an additional 1.29 GW being planned, taking the total projected capacity to 3.29 GW by 2028. This exponential growth is propelled by a confluence of factors, including a significant increase in data consumption fueled by rising digital penetration and adoption of data-intensive technologies.

Notably, more than 90% of this supply concentrated in key markets including Mumbai (which is a clear leader), Chennai, Delhi NCR and Hyderabad – which is fast emerging as the new data centre hub in India.

The report tries to estimate, on a conservative basis, the potential data center capacity that India will require for it to be comparable to other major economies. This report highlights the massive under-penetration of data centers in India, and that there is a need to significantly ramp-up investments into adding more projects in the pipeline. This increase in investment is also relevant considering the increasing demand for Artificial Intelligence (AI) that is expected to further augment overall demand of DCs in India.

The report employs two distinct approaches to assess India’s potential data centre capacity. By comparing key metrics (mobile data consumption and number of internet users) with other nations, it highlights that India is far from reaching an oversupply situation, rather it is grossly under-penetrated.