Facebook and Microsoft have announced plans to build a new undersea data cable that connects North America and Europe. Called MAREA, the cable is intended to accelerate the growth of next generation internet infrastructure, and also support the increasing demand from data coming from that side of the world.
MAREA will be the highest capacity data cable connecting the two side of the Atlantic when it is completed in late 2017. The announcement says that it has an estimate capacity of 160 Tbps across eight pairs of fibre. The cable will also be set further south than existing data cables, which according to the companies will provide it with added resilience and reliability.
“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, global network acquisition, Microsoft Corp. “This marks an important new step in building the next generation infrastructure of the Internet.”
The agreement between Microsoft and Facebook will see Spanish telecommunications firm Telxius operate the cables once they are completed. Telxius is a new company from Spanish telco Telefónica and specialises in telecommunications and infrastructure.
Construction of the trans-Atlantic connection is expected to begin in August of this year, and should be completed in 2017. The cable itself will be anchored at Virginia beach in the US and Bilbao in Spain.