Microsoft, Facebook Agree to build High-speed Trans-Atlantic sub-Sea Cable
$MSFT, $FB, $GOOGL, $AMZN
Thursday, US technology giants Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) announced they will jointly build a high-speed undersea cable across the Atlantic to give customers fast and reliable access to the 2 companies’ “cloud” and online services as demand grows.
The new 6,600-kilometer undersea cable system, dubbed MAREA, will be the 1st to connect the US and Southern Europe, stretching from Virginia Beach, VA, in the to Spanish city Bilbao and then beyond to network hubs in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
MAREA is composed of 8 fiber pairs and features an initial estimated design capacity of 160 Tbps. It will be the highest-capacity sub-sea cable to ever cross the Atlantic, the 2 companies said in their statement.
The construction of the cable will start this August and is expected to be completed in October 2017. Spanish telecommunications infrastructure company Telxius will operate and manage the cable system after its completion.
The laying of new global Internet infrastructure is driven by huge and growing data consumption.
Microsoft said that it sees an ever-increasing customer demand for reliable, high-speed connections for its “cloud” platform, including search engine Bing, productivity software Office 365 and its Azure “cloud” services.
Facebook runs instant messaging services like Messenger and WhatsApp in addition to its social networking service.
“This robust, global infrastructure will enable customers to more quickly and reliably store, manage, transmit and access their data in the Microsoft Cloud,” the company said.
Microsoft and Facebook designed MAREA to be interoperable with a variety of networking equipment.
The companies said that the design will allow customers to benefit from lower costs and easier equipment upgrade which brings about faster growth in bandwidth rates, since the cable system can evolve at the pace of optical technology innovation.
Undersea cables carry the majority of transoceanic digital data, which includes telephone, Internet and private data traffic. While undersea cable systems are traditionally built by telecommunication companies, US tech companies are increasingly entering into the submarine cabling market.
According to market research firm TeleGeography, Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) has invested or plans to invest in 5 sub-sea cable installations, Microsoft 4, Facebook 2 and Amazon 1.
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