While we’ve seen Google making waves in the undersea markets and there’s been an occasional sighting of Facebook, the presence of Microsoft has been harder to spot. This morning though, the software giant went public as a major customer of both of the two new Transatlantic cables that are under construction.
Hibernia Networks is helping support Microsoft’s growing networking appetite with both its existing cables and the new Express cable that is slated to come online sometime this year. They’ll be providing capacity between their landings at Halifax, Canada; Ballinspittle, Ireland; and Brean, UK. Hibernia’s cable should be ready for service in September, 2015. This morning, they announced that three cable ships are in the water with the first 2000km of fiber on board.
Microsoft is not monogamous when it comes to its connectivity of course, and today it was also formally revealed that they will also be the first foundation customer for Aquacomms’ AEConnect cable system. That’s the new cable being built by TE Subcom now that is the latest, and at last successful, incarnation of the Emerald Express project that will come online a quarter or two later. Microsoft’s backing of the project has been something of an open secret over the past year or so.
For a long time, Microsoft’s shadow over the fiber and network world was mostly theoretical – some M&A smoke not backed up by any fire. Now that they have their Azure cloud to feed and are so publicly interested in submarine capacity in the Atlantic, I’m sure the markets won’t waste much time wondering what other infrastructure they might be thinking about.
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