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Microsoft, Facebook Build Undersea Cable for Faster Internet

Microsoft Corp. and Facebook Inc. are teaming up to build an undersea cable in the Atlantic Ocean to deliver fast online and cloud services to customers of both companies.

The cable, designed to have a bandwidth of as much as 160 terabytes per second, will be the highest capacity one of its kind under the Atlantic, the companies said in a statement Thursday. It will be operated by Telxius, a unit of Telefonica SA. It will stretch 6,600 kilometers (4,100 miles) from Virginia Beach, Virginia, to Bilbao, Spain.

Microsoft is seeing increased demand for speedy and reliable access to services like Skype and its cloud-based Office programs while Facebook needs faster speeds as video plays a bigger role in social media. Microsoft purchased a stake in Facebook in 2007 and the two companies have worked together on initiatives like search in the past.

Construction of the cable, called MAREA, the Spanish word for tide, will start in August 2016 and is expected to be completed in October 2017, according to the statement.