Cable connecting Hampton Roads to Spain now complete

Posted at 9:53 AM, Sep 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-22 20:52:41-04

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. -A cable connecting Virginia Beach to Spain is now complete, state and business leaders announced Friday.

The Marea stretches more than 4,000 miles and lies 17,000 feet under the Atlantic Ocean. After about two years of construction, it is now complete.

"Unfortunately, we've still got 38 million Americans without access to broadband," said Sen. Mark Warner. "This undersea cable will improve the connectivity from America... not only to Spain, but Europe and north Africa."

Executives from Microsoft and Facebook made the trip to Kingsmill Resort for the announcement. They say with more activity happening online, the cable is needed to help keep up with data demands. "This is going to bring more connectivity and it's going to help us move data faster between where we create it and where people need it," said Brad Smith, the president of Microsoft.

Smith says they picked Virginia Beach because so much data flows through the Commonwealth, and it serves as protection from natural disasters as other cables are farther north and south. "It reflects a huge of confidence by our companies in what is happening here in Virginia," said Smith.

Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms says he hopes the cable will help the city bring in more businesses. As Amazon shops around for a second headquarters, he says he hopes the cable helps lure the business there. "It's just one of the things that we have to offer," he said. "It's gotta be a big selling point for Virginia Beach."

The cable is expected to be operating early next year.