Microsoft recently announced that it would pump an undisclosed sum of money into three undersea cable networks. The company plans to link data centers from the U.S. West Coast with key countries from South-East Asia.
The first network dubbed the New Cross Pacific (NCP) cable network will guarantee a better connectivity between the U.S. and China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. Microsoft hopes that the undersea cables would boost Internet speeds and quality of its worldwide cloud services, while keeping costs at a minimum.
For its NCP project Microsoft allied with five major telecom companies from Asia – Chunghwa Telecom, China Unicom, China Mobile, China Telecom, and KT Corporation. These investors will pay TE SubCom to provide their jointly funded project with the necessary infrastructure.
Microsoft announced that the new project involving the undersea cable networks will focus on lowering cloud computing costs while also creating new jobs and boosting local economies.
“The goal of our expansions and investments in subsea cables is so our customers have the greatest access to scale and highly available data, anywhere,”
A Microsoft spokesperson recently said.
The company also revealed the names of the other two cable networks: AcquaComm’s AEConnect and Hibernia Express. Hibernia will link Canadian, Irish and British data centers, while the other one would link New York with the Irish west coast.
The Irish company AcquaComm will provide the undersea infrastructure necessary for the AEConnect undersea cable project, while Microsoft Corporation will fund the operations with about $300 million. The U.S. company was announced as the first customer for the project, so it will be easier for it to expand its network to other European countries.
Microsoft also said that the initial step was to connect the U.S. with England and Ireland. Microsoft’s David Crowley announced that the new cable network would provide faster speeds, decreased latency, and transmission capacity of larger batches of data to all its international customers.
The tech company explained that the need for enhanced undersea cable networks came as more and more people and businesses wanted data “at their fingertips.” So in order to be competitive and reliable to businesses, Microsoft’s cloud services such as Azure required a better infrastructure.
The company also revealed that it had made major investments into dark fiber capacity on both undersea and ground levels by partnering with companies that provide fiber infrastructure across “multiple oceans and continents.” The investments were made over the course of the last nine months and probably will continue. Company’s representatives declined to provide additional details on the operations.
However, Microsoft has real competitors in the subsea cable business. Google announced last summer that it would invest $300 million in a similar network called FASTER designed to link key data centers from the U.S. West Coast and Japan.
Google also partnered with five other companies for the project which would support initial speeds of up to 100 Gbs on a 6-fiber pair. Other partners for the project included two major telecom companies from China, a Malaysian telecom giant, a Japanese telecommunications operator and another one from Singapore.
The undersea infrastructure for FASTER was provided by the Japanese company NEC, which announced last fall that it would build the world’s first South Atlantic undersea cable network by linking Africa and South America.
Image Source: Chunghwa Telecom