The Changing World of Subsea Cables

António Nunes discusses the changing realities of the submarine fiber industry, and ways to improve economic growth in the new market.By António Nunes
July 24, 2018

Facilitating the Creation of New Business and Economic Growth

There are well recognised benefits to developing economies from investing in connectivity. However, the most pressing problems with facilitating the creation of new business and economic growth is a lack of the legacy infrastructure that has slowly been built in developed economies over the past 150 years. These infrastructure requirements include railway lines, highways, ports, telecommunication facilities and subsea cables, upon which the modern internet is built.

Given the significant costs that building much of this infrastructure requires, most countries have settled on a combination of encouraging investment and what the World Bank defines as “leapfrogging”, where instead of creating western legacy systems they move directly to digital technology platforms. This saves these countries from needing to build expensive telecommunication structures and creating large systems which in many cases would be inefficient, especially in sparsely populated geographies.

Instead, by moving straight to digital emerging market economies can gain from the efficiency of newer technology and benefit from the significant network effects in commerce, communication and data analytics. This demand for connectivity means the subsea cable industry is rapidly accelerating as the global south seeks to become fully interconnected, with a boom in the number of cables being built in order to connect emerging markets with both developed markets and other emerging markets.

The need for submarine cable network growth

Today, there are still over 4 billion people in the world who do not have reliable access to the internet. While many of those that do have access have very limited capability, leading to their usage being highly constrained. The economic effects of bringing those who have no connection or are severely underserved will be revolutionary.

To continue reading the rest of this article, please read it in Issue 101 of the SubTel Forum magazine here on page 17.