Microsoft, Facebook building giant cable under Atlantic Ocean

Posted May 28, 2016 by Lucky Malicay
Microsoft Corporation is collaborating with Facebook Incorporated to put up a subsea cable across the Atlantic Ocean to boost connections for cloud and online services.
The Atlantic Ocean as seen from the western coast of Portugal.
The Atlantic Ocean as seen from the western coast of Portugal.
The 6,600-kilometer "MAREA" cable, which will link the United States and Europe, will be part of the two companies’ drive to develop the next-generation Internet infrastructure. To begin in August, construction will be finished in October 2017.
“We’re seeing an ever-increasing customer demand for high speed, reliable connections for Microsoft cloud services, including Bing, Office 365, Skype, Xbox Live, and Microsoft Azure,” said Microsoft Server and Cloud Platform Team on the company’s website.
“As the world continues to move towards a future based on cloud computing, Microsoft is committed to building out the unprecedented level of global infrastructure required to support ever faster and even more resilient connections to our cloud services. This robust, global infrastructure will enable customers to more quickly and reliably store, manage, transmit and access their data in the Microsoft Cloud.”
Designed by Microsoft and Facebook, “MAREA” cable has eight fiber pairs and has an initial power of 160Tbps, making it the “highest-capacity subsea cable to ever cross the Atlantic.”
Telxius will manage and operate the submarine cable system, which will link Virginia Beach, Virginia in the United States and Bilbao, Spain in Southern Europe.
Microsoft has invested over $15 billion in cloud infrastructure and services. To date, it has 32 Azure regions around the world, making it one of the largest cloud operators.
“In order to better serve our customers and provide the type of reliable and low-latency connectivity they deserve, we are continuing to invest in new and innovative ways to continuously upgrade both the Microsoft Cloud and the global Internet infrastructure,” said Frank Rey, director of Microsoft Corp.’s global network acquisition.
“This marks an important new step in building the next generation infrastructure of the Internet.”
Najam Ahmad, Facebook vice president for network engineering, said the company wants to make it sure that “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."
The collaboration came two years after Google Inc. and five telecom and communications firms in Asia agreed to spend $300 million to develop a trans-Pacific cable network linking Japan and the United States.
The cable network, named “FASTER,” will connect Shima and Chikura in Japan to Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Portland in the U.S.
With an initial capacity of 60 terabits per second, the network will be operational in the second quarter of this year.