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Microsoft today announced that it’s working with Facebook and Telefonica subsidiary Telxius to build a new submarine cable that will run across the Atlantic Ocean, with endpoints in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and Bilbao, Spain. The companies will begin work on the cable in August, and it should be done by October 2017.

With a capacity of 160 Tbps, the new Marea cable will have greater capacity than any other undersea cables spanning the Atlantic, Frank Rey, director of global network acquisition for Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure and operations, wrote in a blog post.

“We’re seeing an ever-increasing customer demand for high speed, reliable connections for Microsoft cloud services, including Bing, Office 365, Skype, Xbox Live, and Microsoft Azure,” Rey wrote. “As the world continues to move towards a future based on cloud computing, Microsoft is committed to building out the unprecedented level of global infrastructure required to support ever faster and even more resilient connections to our cloud services. This robust, global infrastructure will enable customers to more quickly and reliably store, manage, transmit and access their data in the Microsoft Cloud.”

This builds on Microsoft and Facebook’s previous investments in infrastructure for delivering data underwater. Last year Microsoft said it was working with Hibernia and Aqua Comms on cables spanning the Atlantic, and in 2014 it was reported that Facebook had invested in a cable in the Pacific.


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“Being physically separate from these other cables helps ensure more resilient and reliable connections for our customers in the United States, Europe, and beyond,” Rey wrote.

Earlier this month Data Center Knowledge reported that public cloud market leader Amazon Web Services (AWS) had made its first investment in an undersea cable project. Google, which has consumer applications like Microsoft as well as a burgeoning cloud infrastructure service, has also invested in undersea cables.

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