Microsoft and Facebook to build a high-speed underwater cable connecting the U.S. to Europe

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On Thursday, Facebook and Microsoft announced that they are teaming up to build a subsea cable across the Atlantic Ocean.

In a blog post, Microsoft says that the goal of the cable is to “help meet the growing customer demand for high speed, reliable connections for cloud and online services” for Microsoft, Facebook and others.

Construction on the new “MAREA” cable will start in August and is expected to be completed in October 2017. The cable system will be 6,600 km (4,100 miles) in length. Microsoft and Facebook say this is “the highest-capacity subsea cable to ever cross the Atlantic.”

 

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And it’s fast.

Its estimated design capacity is a staggering 160 terabits per second. Operated and managed by Telefonica’s Telexius, this will be the first subsea cable system to connect the United States to southern Europe.

 

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The cable will go from a data hub in Virginia Beach, Virginia, to Bilbao, Spain. From there, it will connect to various network hubs in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

This isn’t the first time tech companies have invested in subsea cable systems. Back in 2014, Google announced a partnership with five Asia-based telecom companies to build a subsea cable connecting the U.S. with Japan.

 

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