Facebook and Microsoft have teamed up to create a 4,100 mile long fiber optic data cable to stretch from Virginia Beach to Spain. With speeds of 160 Tbps, this is the highest capacity data cable to ever cross the Atlantic according to Microsoft.
Construction is scheduled to begin in August 2017 and be completed by October of that year. The 4,100 mile long cable dubbed MAREA (Spanish for tide) will allow both Facebook and Microsoft users to connect faster than ever.
“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 Corp.
Facebook has over 1.6 billion active users on the site, with many others using services like Whatsapp and Instagram. For Microsoft, services like Skype, Bing and Azure Cloud consume tons of bandwidth. Having this cable will allow room for further growth and higher speeds from both companies.
Not only will MAREA open up room for Facebook and Microsoft, use of the cable will be up for sale by a division of Telefónica telecommunications company, Telxius, who is set to manage the cable. Other companies and service providers will be allowed to rent/own sections of the trans-Atlantic connection so their users can enjoy high speed intercontinental connections.
The cable will stretch from Virginia Beach, Va. to Bilbao, Spain and will be connected to the network centers in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and other parts of Europe. According to the Telegraph, “around a dozen high capacity cables are being laid across the oceans by high-tech companies”. 4100 miles long and about the width of a garden hose, MAREA may be one of many connections changing the way people communicate across the globe.