Microsoft and Facebook have signed an agreement to build a subsea cable across the Atlantic.  The new ‘MAREA’ cable will help meet the growing customer demand for high speed, reliable connections for cloud and online services for Microsoft, Facebook and their customers, said the two companies in a statement. 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.

MAREA is expected to be the highest-capacity subsea cable to ever cross the Atlantic – eight fiber pairs and an initial estimated design capacity of 160Tbps. The 6,600 km submarine cable system, to be operated and managed by Telxius, Telefónica’s new telecommunications infrastructure company, will also be the first to connect the United States to southern Europe, from the data hub of Northern Virginia to Bilbao, Spain and then to network hubs in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. This route is south of other transatlantic cable systems.

MAREA is designed to be interoperable with a variety of networking equipment. Telxius will serve as the operator of the system and sell capacity as part of their wholesale infrastructure business.

[Image courtesy: Facebook]