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New Undersea Cables Support Rapid Data Speeds, Oz Install Ready

Microsoft, Facebook and Telxuis have finished their massive undersea data cable “Marea”, heralded the highest capacity subsea cable to cross the Atlantic Ocean in history, and capable of supporting data speeds of up to 160 terabytes per second.  The undersea cable is said to be in operation by early 2018.

As a matter of context, 160 terabytes per second is said to be the same as a streaming 71 million HD videos simultaneously. Microsoft claims it will support data speeds 16 million times faster than the average American consumer’s home internet connection.

Microsoft states the undersea cable will provide reliability to individuals living in America and Europe and will safeguard against various natural disasters (like Hurricane Sandy) which cause disruptions to connections.

The undersea cable also provides a path to network hubs near countries where research states the next billion internet users are expected to come from – such as Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

Naturally, Marea will serve Microsoft and Facebook very well, as both companies boast large data centre operations in Virginia.

Following the completion of Marea, Facebook and Microsoft will benefit from increased control over the massive amount of data they need to transport quickly around the globe. Naturally, both Facebook’s and Microsoft’s cloud services are set to benefit from improvements, inclusive of products such as; Office 365, Azure, Xbox Live, Instagram, Facebook and Whatsapp.

The company states the endeavour was completed close to three times faster than usual – in under two years.

The subsea cable measures 4,000 miles and is enveloped 17,000 feet below the ocean surface. It extends between Virginia Beach, Virginia and the Spanish city of Bilbao. It is said to expand a route south of most transatlantic cables.

Marea is made up of eight pairs of optic cables, encompassed in copper. For the majority of its route, cables will be laid upon the ocean floor, though some parts (as those closer to shore) are buried to be shielded from shipping traffic.

Marea is developed with an “open” design, therefore, is capable of evolving as technology furthers, population numbers increase, and internet user demand escalates.

President of Microsoft, Brad Smith, states of the accomplishment and its future scope:

“Marea comes at a critical time. Submarine cables in the Atlantic already carry 55 percent more data than trans-Pacific routes and 40 percent 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 move follows an emerging trend which sees technology companies funding new cables themselves, instead of joining telecom groups which already operate subsea cables.

Reports state Google has invested in two cables, which will expand from the United States, South America, Japan and other Asian nations.

Microsoft has not disclosed the amount of the investment, nor how much partners have paid.

Australia & New Zealand

The Hawaiki submarine cable system – comprising 14,000km of fibre-optic cable and equipment – has been manufactured and is ready to be installed, a move set to link Australia and New Zealand to mainland United States, Hawaii and American Samoa. The system is in the final stages and is awaiting deployment, scheduled to begin in early October, with completion expected in mid-2018.

New Zealand entrepreneurs Sir Eion Edgar, Malcolm Dick and Remi Galasso developed the carrier-neutral cable system, said to offer the highest “cross-sectional capacity link between the U.S. and Australia and New Zealand”.

Horizontal directional drilling in Oregon and Sydney has been completed, with all installation permits for Australia, New Zealand and Oregon also in hand.

Manufacturer, TE SubCom, states that the cable has now been fully loaded onto a vessel, and that work is processing on schedule.

“With the cable load process concluding on schedule, we will soon launch the installation phase of the project using two of the industry’s most technologically-advanced cable laying vessels”, states TE SubCom’s VP of Project and Program Management, Debra Brask.

Cable system owner and developer Hawaiki, states that the progress to date has been a huge accomplishment and will soon deliver much-needed capacity to this region.

“Considering the scope of the project, the progress to date has been staggering. It is a thrill to reach the installation phase and know that we will soon be ready to light the system and deliver much-needed capacity to the region”, states Remi Galasso, CEO of Hawaiki.

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