Facebook, Microsoft Team Up on MAREA Subsea Cable

Facebook and Microsoft are going under, as in underwater: The two tech giants will team up to build a new, state-of-the-art subsea cable across the Atlantic Ocean.

Facebook and Microsoft are going under, as in underwater: The two tech giants will team up to build a new, state-of-the-art subsea cable across the Atlantic Ocean.

The new cable, MAREA, will be the highest-capacity subsea cable to cross the Atlantic upon its completion, with eight fiber pairs and an estimated capacity of 160 terabits per second, and Facebook and Microsoft said the capacity will help meet growing demand for high-speed, reliable connections for cloud and online services.

Construction on the 6,600-kilometer cable will begin in August, and MAREA is expected to be completed in October 2017, connecting the U.S. data hub in northern Virginia with Bilbao, Spain, and other network hubs in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

MAREA will be managed by Telxius Cable, Telefónica‘s new telecommunications infrastructure company, and Telxius will serve as the cable’s operator and be responsible for selling capacity.

Facebook vice president of network engineering Najam Ahmad said in a release announcing MAREA:

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. We’re always evaluating new technologies and systems in order to provide the best connectivity possible. By creating a vendor-agnostic design with Microsoft and Telxius, we can choose the hardware and software that best serves the system and ultimately increase the pace of innovation. We want to do more of these projects in this manner—allowing us to move fast with more collaboration. We think this is how most subsea cable systems will be built in the future.

Microsoft general manager of data center strategy, planning and development Christian Belady added:

As the world is increasingly moving toward a future based on cloud computing, Microsoft continues to invest in our cloud infrastructure to meet current and future 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. By building the cable along this new southern route, we will also increase the resiliency of our global network, helping ensure even greater reliability for our customers.

And Telxius Cable chief operating officer Rafael Arranz said:

Working with Facebook and Microsoft in this project will reinforce Telxius’ position as a worldwide leading infra company not only expanding on-net capabilities to Spain and the U.S., but also allowing us to capture market opportunities in Western Europe and new emerging routes in Northern Africa and other regions.

Readers: What are your initial thoughts on MAREA?

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