Microsoft, Facebook and Telxius, a subsidiary of telecom provider Telefónica, have completed the 4,000-mile-long subsea cable connecting Virginia Beach, Virginia, and Bilbao, Spain.
Dubbed Marea, Spanish for “tide,” it is the first subsea cable connecting Virginia and Spain.
Marea is also the highest-capacity subsea cable to cross the Atlantic, providing up to 160 terabits of data per second, Microsoft said.
“Marea comes at a critical time,” said Brad Smith, president of Microsoft. “Submarine cables in the Atlantic already carry 55 percent more data than trans-Pacific routes and 40 percent more data than between the U.S. and Latin America. There is no question that the demand for data flows across the Atlantic will continue to increase and Marea will provide a critical connection for the United States, Spain, and beyond.”
Microsoft and Facebook designed the cable to be interoperable with a variety of networking equipment. Through a new “open” design, the cable can evolve with technology, ensuring the highest performance for current and future users, even as the global population of internet users grows.
Najam Ahmad, vice president network engineering for Facebook, said: “Marea will help us connect people more quickly and efficiently. More broadly, robust connectivity can help a wide variety of people build relationships and collaborate between countries and across cultures.”
Rafael Arranz, chief operating officer for Telxius, added, “With its unique route, this cable is going to be able to absorb and deliver back-and-forth traffic to strengthen communications, not just across the Atlantic, but across the globe.”
Construction of Marea started in August 2016, and the cable began its journey across the Atlantic approximately five months ago. The physical work to manufacture and lay the cable has now been completed, and it is planned to be operational in early 2018.