Telecommunications

Microsoft and Facebook to lay a huge subsea cable across the Atlantic

Microsoft and Facebook are planning to build a cable across the Atlantic Ocean, with an estimated initial data capacity of 160 terabits per second
Microsoft and Facebook are planning to build a cable across the Atlantic Ocean, with an estimated initial data capacity of 160 terabits per second
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Microsoft and Facebook are planning to build a cable across the Atlantic Ocean, with an estimated initial data capacity of 160 terabits per second
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Microsoft and Facebook are planning to build a cable across the Atlantic Ocean, with an estimated initial data capacity of 160 terabits per second

Microsoft and Facebook have announced plans to build "MAREA", a huge subsea cable connecting North America and Europe to improve the companies online services infrastructure. Utilizing eight fiber pairs, the cable's initial capacity is estimated to be 160 terabits per second, which will make it the highest capacity cable crossing the Atlantic.

Running from Virginia Beach, Virgina to Bilbao, Spain, MAREA (which is Spanish for "tide"), it will be the first cable to connect the US to southern Europe, over a distance of 6,600 km (4,100 miles). From Blibao, it will connect to network hubs in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia, with the goal of improving speed and reliability.

For Microsoft this means improvements for users of its cloud services, such as Bing, Office 365, Skype, Xbox Live, and Microsoft Azure, while for Facebook it means improvements for users of its eponymous social network.

"In order to better serve our customers and provide the type of reliable and low-latency connectivity they deserve, we are continuing to invest in new and innovative ways to continuously upgrade both the Microsoft Cloud and the global Internet infrastructure," said Frank Rey, Director of Global Network Acquisition at Microsoft. "This marks an important new step in building the next generation infrastructure of the internet."

The system is designed to be interoperable with a variety of networking equipment, with an open design which should lower costs and make equipment upgrades easier for customers as optical technology improves.

Telxius, the telecommunications infrastructure division of Spanish telecoms company Telefonica, will be in charge of operating and selling capacity of the cable.

Construction on MAREA is due to begin in August this year, and expected to be completed in October 2017.

Source: Microsoft

6 comments
Wolf0579
Too bad these two former AMERICAN Corporations don't have time or resources to speed up AMERICA's shitty internet infrastructure. We invented the damn thing after all. I'm embarrased to be American these days.
habakak
Fantastic. Hopefully this is also not outrageously expensive and helps to bring bandwidth cost down.
Stephen N Russell
Get other Internet providers on board: Google, Yahoo & phone carriers: AT&T, Sprint etc alone. & Cloud data services on project. Send one cable to No Europe from NY.
Daishi
@Wolf0579 Why do you suppose all the venture capitalists with piles of money to burn and huge for profit companies don't move into that space more aggressively if it's such low hanging fruit? Google is about the only company that is and they are moving extremely cautiously cherry picking specific markets with close municipal partnerships to subsidize a lot of the construction and running costs and even with all that financial help from the municipality and taxes their plans still start at $50/month and not like $5 or $10. For all the people on the Internet insisting ISPs make 99% profit margins you think someone somewhere along the way would get rich proving it by entering the space. If wealthy investors felt the payout was worth the upfront investment it would happen.
Daishi
@Stephen Russell most actual content you pull down in the US or EU is served off a local CDN without crossing the Atlantic. I saw a presentation that said Google's internal (data center to data center) traffic is like 8x higher than their customer facing traffic so I assume a lot of their capacity will be machine to machine back end stuff that they need to buy in fistfulls of terabits at a time. They were probably spending a fortune leasing capacity from other cable operators and just decided to deploy their own. There are actually a handful of cables between the east coast and EU already. Check out submarinecablemap.com
chase
Problem is once they start laying the cable, 6 months later it'll be outdated. Besides, who still Facebook's anyway? Besides the kiddies I mean... As much as I like Win10, you seriously want to give the control of a mainline international communication through way to these two Corps? Kinda like giving control to Google... Scary monsters...