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Facebook hires NEC to build submarine fiber-optic cable between Europe and the United States

Why is this important: Facebook has long sought ways to increase the availability and quality of Internet access around the world. Years ago, the social media giant even developed a massive solar-powered aircraft capable of delivering high-speed internet access to underserved areas. That project was killed off in 2018, but Facebook is now pursuing a new idea – a giant submarine fiber-optic cable that will stretch between Europe and the United States.

The goal of this initiative is to dramatically improve data transfer speeds between the two regions. The cable will consist of 24 pairs of fibers, with the capacity to transmit a “half petabit per second”. If the cable construction is successful, this figure will represent the fastest data transfer rates for any such long distance “repeated submarine optical cable system”.

Facebook won’t build this cable itself – it lacks the expertise and infrastructure to do so. Instead, he chose to outsource the work to NEC (formerly known as Nippon Electronic Company), a Japanese multinational company specializing in this type of technology. Indeed, the company giant claims to have built more than 300,000 km of fiber optic cables to date, “crossing the earth almost 8 times”.

Facebook itself has said the cable will provide “200 times more Internet capacity” than other transatlantic cables built in the 2000s, but of course we’ll have to wait and see if that turns out to be right or not.

It’s unclear how long the latest NEC project will take to complete. We’ll contact the company to see if their PR team is willing to give us an estimate, and update this article if we have any news.

Regardless, Facebook’s focus here is admirable, though it certainly hasn’t given the world any reason to believe its intentions are purely altruistic – especially in light of the whistleblower controversy. in which he has found himself involved in recent times.

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