MS, Facebook to build huge subsea cable - TechCentral

MS, Facebook to build huge subsea cable

A cross-section of a submarine telecommunications cable

A cross-section of a submarine telecommunications cable

Google is not the only big US technology company getting into the telecommunications business. Microsoft and Facebook have just announced they will build a super-fast transatlantic subsea cable with a design capacity of 160Tbit/s.

The cable system, to be called Marea, will help meet growing demand for high-speed, reliable connections for cloud and online services for both Microsoft and Facebook, Microsoft executive Frank Rey revealed in a blog post.

Rey, who is the software maker’s director for global network acquisition in its cloud infrastructure and operations division, said the companies have cleared conditions to go “contract in force” with their plan.

Construction of the cable will commence in August 2016, with completion expected in October 2017.

Marea will be the highest-capacity subsea cable to cross the Atlantic — featuring eight fibre pairs and an initial estimated design capacity of 160Tbit/s,” Rey said.

The 6 600km cable system will be operated and managed by Telefónica subsidiary Telxius and will be the first to connect the US to southern Europe, where it will land in Bilbao in Spain before it interconnects with network hubs in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.


Telxius will serve as the operator of the system and sell capacity as part of their wholesale infrastructure business.

“This route is south of existing transatlantic cable systems that primarily land in the New York/New Jersey region. Being physically separate from these other cables helps ensure more resilient and reliable connections for our customers in the US, Europe and beyond,” Rey said.

Microsoft and Facebook said they designed Marea to be interoperable with a variety of networking equipment. “This new, ‘open’ design brings significant benefits for customers: lower costs and easier equipment upgrades which leads to faster growth in bandwidth rates since the system can evolve at the pace of optical technology innovation.”  — © 2016 NewsCentral Media

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