Microsoft and Facebook Plan Undersea Cable


Microsoft and Facebook have announced plans of laying massive undersea cable across the Atlantic to provide more bandwidth for their services. There are already many cables on ocean floors crisscrossing  each other and offering high-speed data links between continents.

In the past few years demand for more bandwidth capacity has grown because software and internet companies are connecting users around the world. Especially Microsoft needs high-speed internet connections as more and more of its services , including Office 365 are moving to the cloudIn addition, Skype, which Microsoft bought in 2011, is the world's number one voice call and video conference service.

Facebook, on the other hand, has offered more and more services to its social networkCurrently, there are 1.6 billion active users every month, who send photos, videos  and text messages to people around the world.

In 2010 Google became the first major corporation to lay their own cables across the Pacific Ocean, connecting North America and Asia. Today, two thirds of all undersea cables  are operated by private companies.

The joint Microsoft/Facebook cable will be called Marea, a Spanish word for "tide" .  The 4000 mile long cable will connect Virginia and Bilbao in Spain. It is scheduled to be operational by mid 2017.


The new undersea cable will allow 160 terrabits of data to pass through per second. It will be the largest ever placed on the floor of the Atlantic Ocean and provide half of the total capacity which already moves through undersea cables.




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  • announce = to say officially
  • bandwidth = the amount of information that can pass through a phone line or internet cable
  • billion = a thousand million
  • capacity = here: the amount of information that a cable can deal with
  • cloud = a computer network where files and software can be stored, especially on the internet
  • connect = link
  • corporation = large company or business
  • crisscross = lines that cross each other
  • currently = at the moment
  • data link = connection that lets information pass through
  • demand = need
  • especially = above all
  • in addition = also
  • including = also
  • joint = doing something together
  • lay = here: spread on the ocean floor
  • major = big, important
  • massive = very big
  • offer = give
  • operate = to run a service
  • place = lay, put
  • provide = give, offer
  • schedule = plan
  • service = a program or other app that you offer users
  • social network = website that lets people communicate and share pictures , videos etc.. with each other
  • terabit = 1 000 000 000 000 bits of information
  • tide = the regular rising and falling of the seas