Japanese IT multinational NEC plans to build a huge submarine cable for Facebook, with a capacity of up to 500Tbps across 24 fiber-pairs.
The private cable will connect the US to Europe – but the companies did not disclose which European countries the cable will land in.
Facebook is also invested in the 2Africa PEARLS system, the world’s longest, and Apricot cable that links APAC nations, among others.
Facebook’s first transatlantic subsea cable system, “this new cable provides 200X more Internet capacity than the transatlantic cables of the 2000s,” the social media and advertising company said.
The cable is also the first in the industry to feature 24 fiber-pairs, with cables previously capping out at 16.
This makes it the highest capacity cable “to date for a long-distance repeatered optical subsea cable system,” NEC said. Repeaters are used to boost signals over long distances.
There are some caveats: Neither company provided details about a timeline.
Earlier this year, Confluence said that it planned to build the Confluence-1 cable along the US East Coast, also featuring 24 fiber-pairs with ‘over 500Tbps’ of capacity. It is expected to be live from the second half of 2023.
The world’s highest capacity cable is currently Google’s 6,400km 12 fiber-pair Dunant system, connecting Virginia to France. At 250Tbps, it is about to be overtaken by the search giant’s own 340Tbps UK-US Grace Hopper cable.
Hyperscalers like Facebook, Amazon, and Google are fundamentally reshaping the economics of the submarine cable industry, and the data centers that rely on them.