Africans To Benefit From Microsoft & Facebook’s New Trans-Atlantic Cable


Microsoft and Facebook have announced a partnership to build a new, state-of-the-art subsea cable across the Atlantic that will not only serve Americans and Europeans but also Africans.

Called MAREA, the subsea cable will help meet the growing customer demand for high speed, reliable connections for cloud and online services for Microsoft, Facebook and their customers.

MAREA will be the highest-capacity subsea cable to ever cross the Atlantic – it will have eight fiber pairs and an initial estimated design capacity of 160Tbps.

The 6,600 km submarine cable system will also be the first to connect the United States to southern Europe: from Virginia Beach, Virginia to Bilbao, Spain and then beyond to network hubs in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

“In order to better serve our customers and provide the type of reliable and low-latency connectivity they deserve, we are continuing to invest in new and innovative ways to continuously upgrade both the Microsoft Cloud and the global Internet infrastructure,” said Frank Rey, director, global network acquisition, Microsoft Corp.

He added, “This marks an important new step in building the next generation infrastructure of the Internet.”

The subsea cable will deliver more resilient and reliable connections to Microsoft & Facebook’s customers in the United States, Europe, Africa and beyond because it will be physically separated from existing cable systems that runs in the Atlantic.

Also, MAREA has been designed to be interoperable with a variety of networking equipment. This new “open” design brings significant benefits for customers such as lower costs and easier equipment upgrades.

Construction of MAREA will commence in August 2016 with completion expected in October 2017.

MAREA will be operated and managed by Telxius, Telefónica’s telecommunications infrastructure company. Telxius will sell capacity as part of its wholesale infrastructure business.

This robust, global infrastructure will enable customers to more quickly and reliably store, manage, transmit and access their data in the Microsoft Cloud,” Microsoft stated in a post.

A lot of small, medium and big businesses in Africa are already enjoying high speed Internet connectivity via various cable system – Glo-1, Main One, SAT3/WASC et al – that runs under the Atlantic.

The addition of MAREA will further help these businesses grow and reach more customers, especially those that rely on Microsoft cloud services such as Bing, Office 365, Skype, Xbox Live, and Azure.

Too much high-speed and reliable Internet connectivity is definitely not a bad thing!

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