TECHNOLOGY giants Microsoft and Facebook have laid a super-speed subsea data cable from Bilbao in Spain to Virginia Beach in the United States which should mean transatlantic Internet connections will soon become a lot more reliable.
Working with infrastructure company Telxius, they have finished work on a 4,100-mile-long undersea cable, codenamed Marea (Spanish for tide), in less than two years — nearly three times faster than is typical.
The cable can transmit 160 terabits of data per second, making it the highest capacity data cable crossing the Atlantic.
That’s more than 16 million times faster than the average home internet connection, making it capable of streaming 71 million high-definition videos simultaneously.
If you were downloading a 2 GB movie, you could download 10,000 movies in one second. That’s pretty fast!
The Marea cable is submerged up to 17,000 feet below the surface of the ocean, at pressures that would crush the human body like a beer can.
The cable’s new “open” design allows it to evolve with technology, ensuring the highest performance for users now and well into the future, even as the global population of internet users grows.
And is doesn’t follow the same route as existing cables which was a deliberate choice made to limit the potential damage if one or more of the cables on the ‘main’ route was broken.
Microsoft president Brad Smith said Marea, which will be available for use by 2018, should feed growing demand.
“Submarine cables in the Atlantic already carry 55% more data than trans-Pacific routes and 40% more data than between the U.S. and Latin America. There is no question that the demand for data flows across the Atlantic will continue to increase,” Smith said.
Large content providers are now investing in their own infrastructure rather than relying on existing telecom companies.
The project was initiated after the Hurricane Sandy storm in 2012 when the entire network between North America and Europe was isolated for a number of hours.