Apple paid over $1.7 million dollars for one small acre of land adjacent to its North Carolina data center, reports claim.

Apple wanted the land because of its proximity to its data center, which is widely expected to become a key part of Apple’s cloud-based services plans once it is complete early next year.

The one acre of land held a small house owned by the Fulbright family. Apple had made previous offers for the place, but the family refused to sell, in the end Apple offered a pretty much blank cheque.

“They told us to put a price on it and we did,” Kathy Fulbright said. The Fulbrights initially paid just $6,000 for the land over 34 years ago. Now they live in a 49-acre property with a 4,200-squre foot house and a jacuzzi in the master bathroom.

The expense of the move underlines the huge importance Apple is attaching to its 500,000 square-foot billion-dollar data center.

Gartner analyst David Cappuccio said, “Between iTunes and the video store they are going to have, you’re talking about massive amounts of data and millions of people trying to access that at the same time.”

The center is due to be completed by year’s end. It will help Apple customers stream and store music and videos remotely, via the so-called cloud, rather than having to download files to a hard drive, said Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray in Minneapolis.

Apple’s plans for cloud-based music and video services seem set for introduction in early 2011, subsequent to the construction of the data center.

Video above dates from February 2010. You cannot easily see the Fulbright’s house.

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