Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) and Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) have announced that they would be jointly investing in developing new undersea internet cable infrastructure spanning right through the Atlantic.
The cable named ‘Marea’, the Spanish word for tide will extend from Bilbao, Spain to New Virginia. It makes for around 6,600 kilometers of a journey across the bottom of the Atlantic that huge chunks of data will be shuttling through at massive speeds. Bandwidth projected is 160 terabits per second, which for a better perspective, makes for around 16-million times higher bandwidth compared to the domestic internet connection.
Construction is expected to start in August this year with a projected completion date of October 2017. Telxius, the infrastructure development arm of global telecommunication giant Telefonica is entrusted with the construction and maintenance of Marea. The plan also encompasses further expansion of network hubs from Europe to Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.
“In order to better serve our customers and provide the type of reliable and low-latency connectivity they deserve, we are continuing to invest in new and innovative ways to continuously upgrade both the Microsoft Cloud and the global Internet infrastructure,” said Frank Rey, director, global network acquisition, Microsoft Corp. “This marks an important new step in building the next-generation infrastructure of the Internet.”
It also reaffirms a growing trend among tech companies to lay their own internet cables, instead of relying on the telecom players for the same. With cloud computing emerging as a dominant arm for almost all forms of computing, be it enterprise or domestic, the sheer amount of information that needs to be shuttled around has gone up enormously in recent times.
Both Facebook and Microsoft offer a clutch of services that makes sense to hold on to high-speed data transmission infrastructure for connecting data centers and networking hubs across the Atlantic. Microsoft needs the extra bandwidth to manage better its online services that include Bing, Skype, Office365, Xbox Live and Azure cloud services.
For Facebook, the services range from Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram along with of course its own social network, all of which together carries the collective data of several billion individuals.
Google also invested in similar undersea internet cables in the past, connecting its data centers in the US to those in Japan, Brazil along with several parts of Asia.
According to telecommunications research firm Telegeography, the amount of data moved by just a few mega tech companies is skyrocketed exponentially in the last few years, constituting more than two-third of the private bandwidth available across the Atlantic.