Microsoft and Facebook are set to build a new, state-of-the-art subsea cable across the Atlantic dubbed “MAREA” to help meet the growing customer demand for high speed, reliable connections for cloud and online services for Microsoft, Facebook and their customers.
The new 6,600 km submarine cable system will be the highest-capacity subsea cable to ever cross the Atlantic with eight fiber pairs and an initial estimated design capacity of 160Tbps and will be the first to connect the United States to southern Europe, from the data hub of Northern Virginia to Bilbao, Spain and then to network hubs in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
This route is south of other transatlantic cable systems, thereby helping ensure more resilient and reliable connections for customers in the United States, Europe, and beyond. The parties have cleared conditions to go Contract-In-Force (CIF) with their plans, and construction of the cable will commence in August 2016 with completion expected in October 2017.
The two firms aim to use such initiatives to accelerate the development of the next-generation of Internet infrastructure and support the explosion of data consumption and rapid growth of their respective cloud and online services.
“Facebook wants to make it possible for people to have deep connections and shared experiences with the people who matter to them most — anywhere in the world, and at any time,” said Najam Ahmad, Vice President of Network Engineering at Facebook.
Facebook has always been interested in connectivity, recently the firm announced a partnership with SES, a satellite services provider to broadcasters, content and internet service providers, mobile and fixed network operators to use its customised broadband platform and services to provide internet connectivity across Sub-Saharan Africa.
Last year, Facebook and Eutelsat announced plans to build satellite technologies to get more Africans online just months after the firm announced its solar-powered drones were ready to beam internet to millions of people in marginalized areas in sub-Saharan Africa. Set to start in the second half of 2016,