Microsoft and Facebook have teamed up and laid a massive cable across the Atlantic floor.
Connecting the Europe and US, the 4,000-mile long cable can transmit 160 terabits of data a second – which Microsoft says is the equivalent of streaming 71 million HD films simultaneously, should you want to.
Sitting 17,000 below the ocean’s surface, ‘Marea’, as it’s been named, is buried in places but mostly lies on the seabed – I wonder if a shark could bite through it? They’ve thought of that, surely?
Constructed in conjunction with telecoms firm Telxius, Microsoft says its impressive wire should keep communications going in the event of a big natural disaster like a hurricane, though possibly not if it coincides with a mass shark attack.
Running from Virginia Beach in the US to Bilbao in Spain (or the other way round, depending on where you’re starting from) Marea will make life easier for Facebook and Microsoft as they attempt to shift increasingly huge amounts of data around the world.
Microsoft’s President, Brad Smith, said: ‘Marea comes at a critical time. Submarine cables in the Atlantic already carry 55% more data than trans-Pacific routes and 40% more data than between the US and Latin America. There is no question that the demand for data flows across the Atlantic will continue to increase.’
The project was finished in less than two years, well ahead of schedule, and additionally provides links to networks in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.