Ultra-High-Speed Subsea Cable is High-Tech Gold

Friday, May 27, 2016

The first transoceanic fiber cable station in the Mid-Atlantic will be in Virginia Beach. "Having Microsoft, Facebook and Telefonica in our city is an exciting development. It helps us continue our mission of becoming one of the most connected cities in the world," said City Councilman Ben Davenport, chairman of the Virginia Beach Broadband Taskforce.

Microsoft and Facebook – partnering with Telefónica – have chosen the city as the landing point for a new state-of-the-art subsea cable across the Atlantic from Europe called "MAREA". MAREA is expected to accelerate the development of the next-generation of Internet infrastructure and support the explosion of data consumption and rapid growth of cloud and online services. Microsoft and Facebook have designed MAREA to be the highest-capacity subsea cable to ever cross the Atlantic.

To facilitate the project, the Virginia Beach Development Authority approved on May 17 the sale of 3.5 acres in Corporate Landing Business Park to Telefónica to build a 20,000- to 23,000-square-foot data center.

Virginia Beach is partnering with Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corporation (MBC) to build a robust fiber and conduit infrastructure to support the cable landing station at Corporate Landing. MBC owns and operates a fiber network in southern Virginia that will be used to establish fiber routes from Virginia Beach to key data center interconnection points in southern and northern Virginia.

"Our core mission is to promote economic development through access to advanced fiber optic networks" said Tad Deriso, president & CEO of MBC. "The new subsea fiber routes to South America, Europe and beyond gives the state of Virginia and Virginia Beach a substantial competitive advantage on the world stage when it comes to promoting and recruiting technology businesses to invest in our regions."

Matt Arvay, the city's chief information officer, said, "This will be the highest-capacity subsea cable to ever cross the Atlantic and the first to connect the United States to southern Europe.  It's great to know that global innovators such as these have selected Virginia Beach as the landing for the next generation infrastructure of the Internet. We look forward to the endless possibilities that these collaborations hold for the future of Virginia Beach."

Corporate Landing is a large business center in the eastern part of Virginia Beach, with 179 acres available for development. Warren Harris, director of the city's Economic Development Department, said the trans-Atlantic cable could spur more international investment in Virginia Beach.

"High-tech businesses have big data needs," Harris said. "Our new health care and biotech hub in Princess Anne Commons is poised to attract major researchers and health care companies. But before they will come, they need a super-fast and highly-reliable Internet connection. This project is exactly what's needed to boost Virginia Beach's growing biomed and technology industries."