Facebook and Microsoft are taking innovation to the next level–about 4,000 miles below sea level.

The two tech giants are teaming up to build a giant cable underneath the Atlantic Ocean, spanning from Virginia to Spain. Their hopes are to expand the amount of data used without having to rely on the bandwidth of outside sources.

The cable is named MAREA (which is the Spanish word for “tide”) and will carry speeds of 160 terabytes per second, making it the fastest and highest capacity cable running this route. This will help the billions of people using Facebook and Microsoft for photo sharing, storage, and frankly everything else that uses multitudes of data every day.

Both companies are partnering with Telefonica, a Spanish telecom company that will be running the day-to-day operations for the MAREA system. Telxius, the infrastructure division under Telefonica, is handling all management, including the sales of cable capacity and usage to companies interested in more high-speed connections.

Facebook and Microsoft picked these locations due to proximity to other continents as well as their own facilities. Both companies have data centers in Virginia, thus making Virginia Beach a good starting point for the cable. As for Spain, this places them close to Asia and Africa, where they can reach a billion new people who are just now accessing the Internet.

While there are currently dozens of submarine cables connecting continents, MAREA will be the most southern link between North America and Europe and possibly the most talked about, due to the big names attached.

Construction will begin in August of this year and should take a year to complete.


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