Today Microsoft announced several partnerships that the company struck to connect its data centers around the world using subsea fiber optic cables.

Microsoft is working with two fiber companies, Hibernia and Aqua Comms, to link the company’s data centers in North America to Ireland as well as the United Kingdom. The deal is supposed to give users faster access to their data and lower latency rates.

In a bid to connect data centers in North America and China, Microsoft is entering into a consortium with China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom, Chunghwa Telecom, and KT Corporation. As part of its participation in this consortium, Microsoft will build a “landing station” that will connect the two countries and establish The Cross Pacific Cable Network, which is also supposed to speed up data delivery to users. A company called TE SubCom will be supplying the subsea fiber optic cables.

The new partnerships are a part of Microsoft’s efforts to remain competitive in the cloud service market, where costs for services continue to drop. Both Google and Facebook have already invested heavily in undersea cables that reach Asia.

Microsoft says its subsea strategy is crucial to the expansion of its cloud services, which include Microsoft 365 and Azure. It its latest earnings statement Microsoft noted that Microsoft 365 had over 10 million subscribers.

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