Thursday, January 20

Technology giants Facebook and Microsoft to lay 4,000 mile transatlantic data cable



A massive data cable is to be built across the Atlantic running from Virginia Beach in the United States to Bilbao in Spain.

The project, announced by Microsoft and Facebook, is the latest in a series of major cable projects which have become necessary because of the growing demand for bandwidth.

Known as MAREA, it will be the fastest cable ever to cross the Atlantic. Construction is due to begin in August, with the work being completed in October next year.

It will be operated by Telxius, a subsidiary of the Spanish telecommunications and broadband giant, Telefónica.

About the width of a garden hose, it will significantly increase the amount of data which can be carried across the Atlantic.

Around a dozen high capacity cables are being laid across the oceans by high-tech companies.

We want to do more of these projects in this manner — allowing us to move fast with more collaboration,” Najam Ahmad, said Facebook’s vice president of network engineering.

Google, which in 2010 laid the first of these cables – Unity linking the US and Japan – is continuing to expand. Apart from Facebook and Microsoft, Amazon is also a major player in this industry.

Alan Mauldin, research director with telecommunications research firm TeleGeography, told USA Today, part of the cable’s function will be to guarantee a dependable link.

It would be unwise to rely on a single cable, he explained – “because if it breaks you are in trouble”.