Facebook recently announced it would continue to partner and invest in core backbone network infrastructure as it brings more data centers online. The company’s investment will include leveraging long-time partnerships to access existing fiber-optic cable infrastructure, partnering on mutually beneficial investments in new infrastructure or when Facebook has a specific need, it will lead the investment in new fiber-optic cable routes.
“In particular, we invest in new fiber routes that provide much-needed resiliency and scale,” Facebook Director of Network Investments Kevin Salvadori wrote in a company blog post.
“As a continuation of our previous investments, we are building two new routes that exemplify this approach. We will be investing in new long-haul fiber to allow direct connectivity between our data centers in Ohio, Virginia, and North Carolina.”
Facebook believes its new long-haul fiber routes will help it continue to provide fast, efficient access to the people using its products and services—just like with the company’s previous builds. Facebook also plans to let third parties, including local and regional providers, buy excess capacity on its fiber.
“This capacity could provide additional network infrastructure to existing and emerging providers, helping them extend service to many parts of the country, and particularly in underserved rural areas near our long-haul fiber builds,” Salvadori wrote.
Facebook will differ from a retail telecommunications provider, as it will not provide services directly to consumers. Instead, Facebook is looking to support operators that already provide these services to customers.
“We will reserve a portion for our own use and make the excess available to others,” Salvadori wrote. “This means you’ll start to see a Facebook subsidiary, Middle Mile Infrastructure, operating as a wholesale provider (or, where necessary, as a telecommunications carrier).”
When Facebook started to build its latest operational data center in New Mexico, it built a 200-mile cable to connect it to another one in Texas. The underground cable is now one of the highest-capacity systems in the United States, with state-of-the-art optical fiber. The end result is a highly efficient cable and a New Mexico data center that now has another redundant path to Facebook’s network.
“Facebook’s apps are used around the world,” Salvadori wrote. “Once we have a new data center and terrestrial fiber network in place, we need to connect it to other data centers and networks — some of which are across oceans. So we have collaborated with partners to build several sub-sea fiber-optic cables that are leading the industry in terms of routes, capacity, and flexibility.”
These cables include Marea, the highest-capacity sub-sea cable to ever cross the Atlantic; Havfrue the first new cable system in nearly 20 years to go across the north Atlantic and Jupiter, a high-speed optical submarine cable between Japan and the U.S.
“Our newest fiber builds, between our data centers in Ohio, Virginia, and North Carolina, are the next steps in our ongoing commitment to build network infrastructure,” Salvadori said. “We will continue to expand our infrastructure to provide the 2.7 billion people using our products with the best possible experience.”