Microsoft and Facebook Building Giant Undersea Cable

Microsoft and Facebook have joined forces to work on a project that is unusual. The two behemoths in the tech world are burying a cable that is 6.600 kilometers long under the Atlantic Ocean, stretching from the U.S. state of Virginia to the coast of Spain.

Both of the companies deal every day with tremendously large amounts of data, whether it is showing photos to 1.6 billion users on Facebook each day, or loading numerous different documents that are stored in the cloud service of Microsoft.

Rather than just relying on telecom businesses for their bandwidth, the two have decided to take care of the problem themselves.

Known as MAREA, which translation from Spanish to English means tide, the cable will be able to offer users speeds as high as 160 terabytes per second, which makes it one of the highest capacity cables running the route, according to both companies.

This is not the first time large tech companies branched out into building infrastructure. Search engine giant Google has been building its business of Google Fiber to bring connections in broadband to cities across the U.S.

Google and Facebook are working together on different experimental tools such as laser-equipped drones and giant balloons in an attempt to bring the Internet to those who are in locations that continue to be underserved.

Microsoft had a number of investments in land and subsea fiber connections.

Telefonica the Spanish telecom business is the third partner in this cable project with Microsoft and Facebook. The management of MAREA will be handled by the infrastructure division of Telefonica known as Telxius.

Telefonica will also be in charge of selling off capacity of the undersea cable to other businesses interested in connections of high speeds.

The construction of the cable will start in August of 2016 and will take slightly more than one year to fully complete.

The departure point at Virginia Beach will be beneficial to both Microsoft and Facebook, as both have data centers located in Virginia.

Spain will be a convenient gateway that will make it easier to reach countries across both Africa and Asia, where currently the next billion are little by little getting online.

MAREA will not be the only undersea connection. There are a number of submerged cables making their way across the seas between two continents and across the globe. The MAREA link when completed will be the most southern link connecting Europe with the east coast of the U.S.

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