Microsoft and Facebook finish laying massive transatlantic internet cable

Finishing a project that began a year ago, Microsoft and Facebook have announced the completion of the Marea subsea internet cable, which stretches the width of the Atlantic ocean between Virginia Beach, Virginia, and Bilbao, Spain.

According to a new blog post (opens in new tab) from Microsoft, the cable weighs in at nearly 10.25 million pounds and is more than 4,000 miles in length. Further, the cable can transfer data at up to 160 terabits per second, which comes in at 16 million times faster than an average home internet connection, Microsoft says. From Microsoft:

In a time when global economies are deepening their reliance on cloud technologies, and both private and public sectors are embracing the opportunities for growth and improvement through digital transformation, we're energized by the impact the Marea subsea cable will have on the advancement of cloud computing and digital services. And we look forward to furthering our respective investments in building high-tech infrastructure to better connect our world, foster economic growth and advance technological capabilities.

The cable was laid as part of a partnership between Microsoft, Facebook, and Telxius — Telefónica's telecommunications infrastructure company. Intentionally places south of existing transatlantic cable systems, Marea is intended to make "more resilient and reliable connections" for communications between the U.S. and Europe. For its part, Microsoft also sees Marea as a way to bolster its cloud service infrastructure with additional capacity and resiliency.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl

23 Comments
  • ...and US customers will still end up overpaying for high speed internet compared to the rest of the developed world.
  •  have you heard Trumps wall will now be paid by the Nambians
  • This has absolutely nothing to do with your internet providers prices.
  • Great, now can MS/FB make a great FB UWP app for Windows? We've been waiting long enough.
  • They pay for it. It's in their taxes.
  • what kind of lattency do you get out of that?
  • .99 speed of light x distance. Figure it out. 
  • Less than satellites. Ultimately, the biggest factor is the type of optical transport equipment they use to demux the signal.
  • Don't forget to enable a tap and comfortable chairs for NSA.
  • Why isn't Apple and Google paying for this?  They have the deepest pockets...
  • They are actually several lines like this connecting America and Europe. It is pretty intresting stuff. These are massive lines, where it is mostly sheilding and have just fiber optic cable at the core passing through. Why so thick? Well, it needs to remain at the bottom of the oceon, and needs to survive heavy rocks that can fall on them, water presure, boat ankers, and more. Here are internet pictures of how lines are installed for crossing water in general. Basically, the line thickness varies based on how deep the cable needs to be, and the resistance it needs to be able to survive. So usually crossing a small river, is not that thick and protected, but crosisng an ocea it can be hudge. This pictures shows how the cable is rolled out on a boat.
    http://www.funcage.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Massive-2-Billion...
    https://arc-anglerfish-arc2-prod-jerseyeveningpost-mna.s3.amazonaws.com/... This is the thickness of a small line.. so you can imagine being thicker for this project:
    Copper lines:
    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Bq-LcbUIIAArav2.jpg Fibber Optics lines:
    http://i.imgur.com/b1s34VN.jpg Here is tyical center at the edge of these lines:
    http://pakbee.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/Submarine-Fiber-Optic-Cable...   Here is an interactive maps showsing all the undersea cables:
    http://submarine-cable-map-2015.telegeography.com/   These are not cheap lines, and not cheap to install, as you can imagine. Many are owned by Tier 1 telecom companies, which your ISP rents to pass internet traffics between come countries (say US visiting a site where its servers are in Europe), others are govermental porojects or mix or owned by big companies like Microsoft, Google and others.
  • So you are saying that the really think cable will plug right into the back of my pc?
  • Sure! You just need to get a card with the XXXL version of your Ethernet plug, or better yet, get an inexpensive adapter. I am sure you get one from Amazon very easily.  
  • Amazon Basic, $3.98
  • Nice information. Thanks for sharing.
  • fdf  
  • i never thuoght of using or sharing internet this way. i always thought everything was through satellite.  this seems barbaric. lol.  it's like using a string with cans as a telephone.
  • Actually, all of the internet works this way; while it IS possible to get internet through satellite (something I've seen in rural areas), the infrastructure that ultimately connects all the countries on the globe need to be land/sea based, as relying exclusively on satellites would not only make Internet access insanely expensive (think about all the satellites you'd need to simultaneously connect billions of users), but would also make response times (ping) really high, meaning you might actually see as much as several seconds of delay in sending data, making real-time communications (Skype) and online gaming, among other things, impossible.
    Google (or bing) submarine communications cables if you'd like to see a map of all these cables. It's interesting stuff, and the concept dates back to days of telegrams.
  • A common misconception. The overwhelming majority of communications are via fiber optics. Even if orbital satellites are used, the terrestrial satellite connection uses fiber optics. There's actually less cost and lower latency with fiber optics.
  • sdf
  • They can do this but not let my Outlook contact's pictures sync with Facebook?
  • lol
  • Lol that was funny, I did chuckle but one really has no relevance to the other.