Tech giants Microsoft and Facebook have announced that they are teaming up to build a high-speed underwater cable.
(CCM) — On Thursday, the companies published a press release on the planned subsea cable — called MAREA — which will be built under the Atlantic Ocean. Facebook and Microsoft have agreed to work together to build the cable to "help meet the growing customer demand for high speed [and] reliable connections for cloud and online services" for the companies and their users. MAREA will be the highest-capacity Atlantic subsea cable, featuring eight fiber pairs, an estimated design capacity of 160Tbps, and measuring 6,600 km in length, connecting Virginia Beach, Virginia with Bilbao, Spain and beyond to network hubs across Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. This new cable will be south of existing transatlantic cables, which typically land in the New York or New Jersey region of the United States. Microsoft notes that MAREA's physical separation from other cables will ensure more resilient and reliable connections in the U.S., Europe, and beyond.
MAREA is different from other subsea cables in that it features an "open" design. Microsoft and Facebook have designed the cable to be "interoperable with a variety of networking equipment," which they say will allow for lower costs and easier equipment upgrades for customers. Since the system is capable of evolving, it can keep up with the pace of optical technology innovation, making sure users receive the highest availability and performance. Microsoft and Facebook are working with Telxius, Telefónica’s telecommunications infrastructure company, on the subsea cable. Telxius will serve as the system's operator and sell capacity as part of its wholesale infrastructure business. The deal has cleared conditions to go Contract-In-Force, and the cable's construction is set to begin in August 2016 and be completed by October 2017.
Photo: © iStock.