Non-profit fibre operator to connect Facebook and Microsoft’s subsea cable

06 October 2016 | Alan Burkitt-Gray


An independent non-profit wholesale operator is to connect two new subsea cables to a Microsoft data centre in Virginia, one of the largest data centres in North America.

MAREAMid-Atlantic Broadband Communities (MBC), which provides open-access fibre across Virginia and neighbouring areas, will connect the MAREA and the BRUSA cables, which land at Virginia beach from Europe and South America respectively.

BrusaMicrosoft and Facebook are building MAREA, which links Virginia Beach to Bilbao on the north coast of Spain.

Telefónica is building BRUSA, which runs to the same landing point from Rio de Janeiro and Fortaleza in Brazil via San Juan in Puerto Rico.

Tad Deriso, president and CEO of MBC, confirmed to Capacity that the non-profit company will connect the landing station. “Microsoft and Facebook are our customers,” he said, speaking at the Capacity Europe event in Toronto. Microsoft has a large data centre at Boydton, Virginia.

MBC has a fibre network covering 2,500km, said Deriso, who founded the company in 2004 with the backing of funds from Virginia authorities as a way of stimulating high-technology investment after the decline of traditional industries in the state.

The company has no retail customers of its own, but provides open-access fibre to operators such as CenturyLink, Comcast, Cox, Level 3 and Verizon to reach customers, cell towers and other facilities.