Microsoft Corp. and Facebook Inc. have agreed to build an undersea cable across the Atlantic Ocean to meet growing demand for high-speed cloud and online services.
The MAREA cable will begin construction in August and is expected to be completed in October 2017, Reuters reports, citing a statement by the companies Thursday.
The 6,600 km. cable, the first to connect the United States with southern Europe, will be operated and managed by Telefonica S.A.’s telecoms infrastructure unit Telxius.
The cable is initially designed to carry 160 terabits of data per second, the companies said.
The move comes nearly two years after Google Inc., now Alphabet Inc., agreed with five Asian companies to invest about US$300 million to develop and operate a trans-Pacific cable network connecting the United States to Japan.
Microsoft has also been experimenting with underwater data centers under its Project Natick and last year tested a prototype on the seafloor for four months.
Underwater data centers, envisioned to be powered by renewable marine energy sources, is expected to reduce the huge cost associated with cooling data centers that generate a lot of heat and also to reduce the distance to connected populations.
Microsoft on Thursday declined to disclose the financial details about MAREA. Facebook did not immediately respond for comment.
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