Submarine communications cables: what is going on? 08 May 24 Javier Morales Fhon

Submarine cables have been deployed and used for around 180 years by telecom operators to provide communication services across the world. In recent years, the volume of data transferred via submarine cables has been expanding. This expansion has taken place due to the increasing data flows generated using cloud computing and other data-intensive services and applications. Our new Global Trends report analyses information about 500 submarine cables launched over the past three decades, and 80 others expected to be deployed between 2024 and 2027. These submarine cables extend for nearly 1.4m km in total.

Ownership structures of submarine cables are changing. Over the past decade, big tech companies such as Amazon, Google, Meta and Microsoft have increasingly invested in submarine cable infrastructure.

There is also a shift towards more diversified investment sources for submarine cables, such as private equity and infrastructure-focused funds. The role of public-private partnerships is gaining traction in the submarine cable industry.

There are many examples of recently adopted public policies promoting the deployment of submarine cables to, for example, enhance independent and reliable connectivity. Exploring new communication routes might ultimately increase communications and digital trade opportunities for some players.

There are geopolitical trends bound to the control of submarine cables internationally. Some nations have been promoting policies to protect submarine cable infrastructure from alleged cybersecurity threats and interference from other nations.

This Global Trends report discusses the main trends in the submarine cable industry from a global perspective. It addresses in particular:

  • The role of submarine cables in today’s and future communications.
  • Recent trends in building and ownership of submarine cables.
  • The geo-politics of submarine cables, including security and trade aspects.

For more information and to access the full report, please click on “Access the full content” - or on “Request Access”, in case you are not subscribed to the Global Trends service.


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