Marea submarine cable, currently the most technologically advanced undersea cable in the world, has been completed by the joint efforts of Microsoft, Facebook and their construction and operation partner Telxius. Revealed in May 2016, Marea lies over 17,000 feet below the Atlantic Ocean surface and becomes the first cable to connect Virginia and Spain.
Seeing the rapidly growing needs for internet and cloud services in the highly connected worlds, Microsoft and Facebook hope the high-capacity transatlantic cable upgrade the global internet infrastructure.
Funded by cloud computing giant Microsoft, social networking juggernaut Facebook, plus Spanish telecommunications leader Telxius, Marea cable is over 4,000 miles long and can transmit maximum 160 terabits of data per second, which, according to Microsoft, is nearly 16 million times faster than the average home internet connection. In other words, it will be able to stream 71 million HD videos simultaneously.
Marea cable is one of the latest accomplishments for world’s undersea cable technologies made by tech companies. Earlier in 2015, Microsoft announced the partnership with a consortium of telecom companies to build three undersea cable projects to improve its data center connectivity, including the New Cross Pacific (NCP) Cable Network, the Hibernia Express cable and the AEConnect cable.
Another cloud computing giant, Google, has been working Facebook and China’s state-owned Pacific Light Data Communication, to build a 120 Terabits per second submarine cable, which connects Los Angeles with Hone Kong. Additionally, the tech company launched another undersea cable project—the Indigo cable in April 2017. The cable will be approximately 5,600 miles that connects Singapore to Perth and Sydney in Australia, and will feature two fiber pairs with a total capacity of almost 18 terabits per second.
Amazon AWS, as a significant competitor to Google and Microsoft in cloud service market, also made its first investment in a submarine cable project called Hawaiki Submarine Cable in May 2016. Landing in Oregon, Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, and American Samoa, the Hawaiki cable is expected to significantly improve capacity on the global network connecting the data centers that hosts its cloud services. The target live date of the submarine cable is in June 2018.
Submarine cables currently link all continents except Antarctica. According to the telecommunications market research and consulting firm—TeleGeography, by September 2017, there are already 293 submarine cable systems that are currently active, under construction, or expected to be fully-funded by the end of 2017.