Microsoft's Transatlantic Internet Cable Connects US With Europe At Ludicrous Speed

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It would take 34 blue whales to match the weight of the Marea subsea cable.

The fiber-optic cable links Virginia Beach, Va. and Bilbao, Spain to transmit data at speeds of 160 terabits per second. Situating the cable many miles south of the current connection points on both continents helps safeguard against natural disasters or other major events disrupting connectivity across the Atlantic. Construction began in August 2016, and teams began laying the cable in the Atlantic - at an average depth of 11,000 feet - five months ago.

For civic leaders, the cable offers the possibility of attracting a new kind of industry to a Hampton Roads economy that has long relied on military spending or tourism and the chance to market itself as a "digital port" to companies interested in developing data centers.

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"This is going to bring more connectivity and it's going to help us move data faster between where we create it and where people need it", said Brad Smith, the president of Microsoft. "Submarine cables in the Atlantic already carry 55% more data than trans-Pacific routes and 40% more data than between the United States and Latin America". According to the companies, that's 16 million times faster than the average household internet connection and enough bandwidth to stream 71 million videos in HD simultaneously.

The post also says that MAREA "will help support the growing demand for high speed, reliable connections to the USA and Europe, including our newest Azure regions coming to France, and beyond".

Worldwide network bandwidth and traffic have been growing quickly, although the growth rate has been declining in recent years, according to the latest Global Internet Geography report by the telecommunications market research firm TeleGeography, which came out last month. For Facebook, Marea will increase its capabilities as the site looks to expand into VR.

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We're excited to share this technological feat and take some time upon the completion to explore what the cable means for connecting businesses in the USA and Europe, as well as the next billion internet users in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. He added: "Obviously, connectivity is one part of achieving that goal".

"More broadly, robust connectivity can help a wide variety of people build relationships and collaborate between countries and across cultures".

Rafael Arranz, chief operating officer for Telxius, says, "All of these applications, especially everything that is driven by video, consume a huge amount of bandwidth". Transatlantic data flows are expected to continue growing as more consumers use mobile smart devices to access the internet.

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