Facebook and Microsoft's Atlantic Ocean Cable Boasts Highest Capacity Ever

Tech titans are teaming up to lay 4,100 miles of cable across the Atlantic.

— -- Facebook and Microsoft are teaming up to lay an undersea cable system across the Atlantic Ocean that will deliver faster connections to online and cloud services from both companies.

Construction of the cable, called MAREA, will begin in August, according to a statement from both companies, and is expected to be completed in October 2017. MAREA, which is the Spanish word for "tide," will span 4,100 miles from Virginia Beach, Virginia, to Bilbao on the northern coast of Spain.

MAREA will take a southern route away from most existing transatlantic cables, which begin in New York and New Jersey. Being separate from other cables will ensure the super high-speed cable is "more resilient and reliable," according to a blog post from Microsoft.

The cable will have the ability to transmit as much as 160 terabytes per second, making it the highest capacity cable of its kind to be laid under the ocean, according to both companies. By comparison, in 2014 Google joined forces with five other companies to build an approximately 5,600-mile undersea cable system spanning the Pacific Ocean, with an initial capacity targeted at 60 terabytes per second.

While the project is built on a collaboration between Facebook and Microsoft, the cable will be operated by Telxius, a unit of Telefónica, a Spanish telecommunications company. Under the agreement, Telxius will also sell capacity to other companies.

Microsoft representatives said in a blog post the company is seeing increased demand for "high speed, reliable connections" for the company's cloud services, along with Bing, Skype, Xbox Live and other products.