Facebook and Microsoft to lay a huge transatlantic cable

Facebook and Microsoft will soon start laying their own cables across the Atlantic ocean, connecting Europe with the United States. The cable, named MAREA (Spanish for 'tide') is not the first of its kind, but it is special in many ways.

First, it's huge. According to Wired's report, it will be capable of providing 160 terabits per second of bandwidth. That's millions of times faster than anything you might have at home.

Second important thing is – it's not being built by telecoms, or even groups of companies – it's being done by Facebook and Microsoft, alone.

The third important thing to notice here is that it will be operated by Telxius, a subsidiary of Spanish telecom Telefónica. Microsoft and Facebook will command most of the bandwidth, and some of it will be sold to other companies in need of a similar connection.

The two companies will start building the cable this year in August, and the project is expected to be completed by October 2017.

The 'why' in this news is multi-layered. Besides the obvious, being able to transfer large amounts of data from one part of the world to another, there are also market expansion efforts to keep in mind.

Google has also ventured into this area, looking to expand into places where it isn't as powerful. Namely, Africa. And landing cables in northern parts of Spain, allows them to do just that.

The cable is expected to connect in Bilbao, Spain.