Under a project announced by Microsoft and Facebook, a massive data cable is to be built across the Atlantic, from Virginia Beach in the United States to Bilbao in Spain. This undersea cable system will deliver faster connections to online and cloud services from both the companies.
Dubbed as MAREA, the project will be initiated in August 2016 and is expected to be completed by October 2017. It will be operated by Telxius, a subsidiary of the Spanish telecommunications and broadband giant, Telefónica.
The cable with eight fibre pairs will have an estimated design capacity of 160Tbp/s. Facebook and Microsoft assure the cables to be networked in an “open” design, benefitting the customers as it means lower costs and easier equipment upgrades, which leads to faster growth in bandwidth rates since the system can evolve at the pace of optical technology innovation.
“We want to do more of these projects in this manner — allowing us to move fast with more collaboration,” said Najam Ahmad, Facebook’s vice president of network engineering.
He also said that it carries a “vendor-agnostic” design and Facebook “can choose the hardware and software that best serves the system and ultimately increase the pace of innovation”.
There are many high-tech companies venturing into undersea cable construction. In 2010, Google laid Unity, linking the US and Japan. Amazon too is a major player in the industry.