It was announced today that a new trans-Atlantic sub sea cable is complete. The cable backed by Microsoft, Facebook and Telefonica is capable of handling 160 terabits per second (Tbps). To put that into lamans terms, you can stream 71 million HD videos at the same time. The cable is massive containing eight fiber optic bundles wrapped in copper and was tracked south of most of the existing trans-Atlantic cables. It originates in Virginia Beach, Virginia and goes 4,000 miles across the Atlantic to Bilbao in northern Spain. The cables capacity and its location south of standard New Jersey and New York points, offers Microsoft and Facebook a huge increase in capacity from the US to the Europe and Africa.
The completion of this cable continues the trend of tech giants investing in their own infrastructure rather than leasing them from other operators. Microsoft and Facebook have cemented their control over the cable that wouldn’t have been possible if they joined a consortium of telecom providers. Microsoft also spent $1.1 billion on a massive data center in Virginia in close proximity to Facebook and Amazons data centers. What this means is that they won’t need to share with capacity with other telecom providers. Google has backed the 60Tbps Faster cable that spans 5,600 miles between Japan and the US west coast. Their singular backing gives them exclusive access to a large portion of its capacity.
Bilbao was selected as the eastern Atlantic termination point because of its convenient path to hubs in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Microsoft is already planning expansion of Azure, Office 365, Skype and Xbox Live in these emerging markets. Facebook says it will help it improve the data-intensive services that are increasing in global usage that include WhatsApp, Messenger, Facebook and Instagram. The new cable will provide both companies a huge return on their investment and gives them both a huge advantage over their competitors. Microsoft has announced that the cable will be lit in early 2018 and immediately create the largest trans-Atlantic network pipe.