Facebook and Microsoft join forces to build giant trans-Atlantic data cable

An image depicting the route the cable will take

CORPORATE behemoths Microsoft and Facebook have teamed up to fund construction of an enormous cable which will traverse the Atlantic Ocean, linking the data hub of North Virginia to Bilbao in northern Spain, which will subsequently connect to additional hubs in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

The project has been named MAREA, and will comprise 6,600 kilometres of cable initially designed to carry 160 terabits of data per second, some 16 million times the bandwidth of a standard domestic internet connection.

Construction is earmarked to begin in August this year with an expected completion date of October 2017.

Microsoft spokesman Christian Belady said: “[The cable will meet] growing global demand for our more than 200 cloud services, including Bing, Office 365, Skype, Xbox Live and the Microsoft Azure platform.

“The MAREA transatlantic cable we’re building with Facebook and Telxius will provide new, low-latency connectivity that will help meet the increasing demand for higher-speed capacity across the Atlantic.”

The cable will represent the first to connect the US with Spain, and will also have the highest data-transfer capacity of any cross-Atlantic system.


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