NEC scores deal to build Facebook transatlantic half-petabit cable

Japanese vendor says it will be world's first 24 fibre-pair subsea cable.

Facebook Connectivity has handed a contract to NEC to build a subsea cable that will link the US to Europe.

NEC boasted it would be the world's first 24 fibre-pair subsea cable, and would be capable of carrying 500Tbps.

It is the first transatlantic cable for Facebook, which said it was capable of delivering 200 times more capacity than the cables laid in the 2000s.

Last year, the social media giant announced it was part of expanding the 2Africa cable system to include the Pearl branch that would add landing stations on the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf at Oman, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Iraq, Pakistan, India, and Saudi Arabia.

The extension makes the total length of 2Africa 45,000 kilometres, which Facebook says is the "longest subsea cable system ever deployed", and would triple the cable capacity serving Africa.

Facebook added it was looking at new ways to power subsea cables.

"Consider, for instance, a transatlantic cable that runs between Europe and the United States at over 7,000 kilometres in length, and all those repeaters getting their electricity through the cable from shore. This makes the cable a very long power cord," the company said.

"To solve this challenge, engineers are working on buoys that can deliver power to the repeaters from the middle of the ocean. We're exploring more sustainable ways to do this, harnessing a combination of wave energy converters and solar panels."

In March, Facebook was part of a group announcing the laying of two cables to connect Singapore, Indonesia, and North America.

The first, named Echo and to be completed in 2023, will be built by Google and XL Axiata, while the second to be completed in 2024, dubbed Bifrost, would involve Telin and Keppel.

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