Microsoft and Facebook have finished laying their massive Marea Internet cable across the Atlantic Ocean, the companies announced Thursday.
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Running from Virginia Beach, Virginia, to Bilbao, Spain, the cable spans more than 4,000 miles and weighs almost 10.25 million pounds — which is about as heavy as "34 blue whales," Suresh Kumar, corporate vice president of Microsoft cloud infrastructure and operations wrote in a blog post.
It can transmit up to 160 terabits of data per second, which is "more than 16 million times faster than the average home internet connection, making it capable of streaming 71 million high-definition videos simultaneously," Kumar added.
Crews began installing the cable last year and completed the project — which Kumar called a "feat of engineering" — right on schedule. Microsoft and Facebook built Marea, which is the Spanish word for tide, with the help of Telxius, Telefónica's telecommunications infrastructure company, which will serve as operator of the new system and sell capacity as part of its wholesale infrastructure business.
"We're energized by the impact the Marea subsea cable will have on the advancement of cloud computing and digital services," Kumar wrote. "Marea will enhance the Microsoft Cloud … through additional capacity and resiliency."
Marea's route is south of existing transatlantic cable systems, most of which are located in New York and New Jersey.
"Being physically separate from the other cables helps ensure more resilient and reliable connections for customers in the United States, Europe and beyond," Kumar wrote.