Microsoft invests in subsea cables to connect datacenters in UK, Asia

The investments are the latest in Microsoft's nine-month push to expand its network of underwater fiber optics, which it intends to use to support its growing portfolio of cloud services.

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Microsoft on Monday announced a series of partnerships that expand on the company's investment in subsea fiber cables, which Microsoft plans to use to connect its global datacenters.

Microsoft says it has struck deals with fiber providers Hibernia and Aqua Comms for two cables that will connect North America to the United Kingdom and Ireland via the Atlantic Ocean. The cables will travel through Halifax, Canada, Ballinspittle, Ireland and Brean, UK.

An Asian route via the Pacific Ocean is also in the works. Microsoft says it has entered a consortium with China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom, Chunghwa Telecom, KT Corporation to build The New Cross Pacific Cable Network (pictured above), which will link together Hillsboro, Oregon with China, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan. As part of the consortium deal, Microsoft will build its first physical landing station in the US.

The investments are the latest in Microsoft's nine-month push to expand its network of underwater fiber optics, which the tech giant intends to use to support its growing portfolio of cloud services, such as Azure and Office 365. Microsoft says the subsea cables will help to deliver data at higher speeds and to more places around the world.

But perhaps more importantly, the new cables will help Microsoft keep pace with its competitors as cloud costs continue to fall. Facebook and Google have already invested in undersea cables to Asia.

"When we look to the future with these investments, we believe our customers will see that Microsoft is pulling together all the components necessary to make its cloud services the most reliable, accessible and secure," David Crowley, Microsoft's managing director of network enablement, wrote in a blog post.

"Competition in the cloud and infrastructure space continues to heat up. But it's not a battle that will be won on just cloud or infrastructure alone, but instead on holistic innovation and providing value to customers from the 'sea to the sky'."

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