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Facebook Teams with Microsoft and Telefonica for High-Capacity Subsea Cable in the Atlantic

By | May 31, 2016
      Marea Cable Facebook Microsoft

      Facebook and Microsoft’s Marea subsea cable. Photo: Microsoft.

      [Via Satellite 05-31-2016] Following satellite capacity and equipment purchases with Eutelsat, Spacecom, Hughes, SES and Gilat, Facebook has now joined forces with Microsoft to build new terrestrial telecommunications infrastructure in the form of a subsea cable across the Atlantic Ocean. Named Marea, the cable will use eight fiber pairs to yield an initial estimated design capacity of 160Tbps — the highest capacity ever to cross the Atlantic, according to Facebook.

      Telxius, Telefonica‘s new telecommunications infrastructure company, will operate and manage the 6,600 km cable, which will be the first to connect the United States to southern Europe, from the data hub of Northern Virginia to Bilbao, Spain. The cable will then connect to 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 its wholesale infrastructure business.

      Facebook and Microsoft plan to use the cable to help meet customer demand for cloud and online services. The parties have cleared conditions to go Contract-In-Force (CIF) with their plans, and construction of the cable will commence in August 2016 with completion expected in October 2017.

      “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,” said Najam Ahmad, VP of network engineering at Facebook.