WSIS Action Line C5: Beneath the Waves: Safeguarding Global Connectivity through Secure Submarine Networks

The WSIS+20 Forum 2024 will address the need for resilient submarine networks, exploring monitoring, risk mitigation, and emergency response.By International Telecommunication Union
May 23, 2024

The need for subsea network resiliency cannot be overemphasized when it comes to either moving huge amounts of data over transoceanic distances or ensuring the connectivity of a small community to the rest of the world. With the increasing dependence of our modern societies on digital services, diversity for international connectivity has become a requirement of the utmost importance.

Session 170

Tuesday, 28 May 2024  in 5 days
10:00–10:45 (UTC+02:00)
Physical (on-site) participation only
SDG Stage, CICG, Ground Floor
Interactive Action Line Facilitation Meeting

The recent series of disruptions serves as a reminder of how dependent the Internet is on submarine cables, which are estimated to carry over 90% of intercontinental data traffic. Only a small percentage of general use is done via satellite networks. There are 529 active submarine cables and 1,444 landings that are currently active or under construction, running to an estimated 1.3 million km around the globe.

The impact of events like cable cuts highlights the need for a coordinated, multilateral approach to protecting shared infrastructure across multi-stakeholders. There is an increasing urgency to discuss the set-up of global and regional frameworks for joint monitoring, risk mitigation, and emergency response procedures for the submarine cables. By securing such telecom infrastructure, we can attract more investment, spur economic growth, and enhance competitiveness at the global stage. A resilient and secure infrastructure not only facilitates efficient communication and connectivity, but also signals a commitment to safeguarding critical assets essential for business operations. This assurance can significantly boost investor confidence and create a conducive environment for sustainable economic development.

This panel presents a unique opportunity to discuss potential actions that could be undertaken to encourage subsea connectivity resilience such as:
– promote the diversification of the sub-region’s connectivity (to enable various deployment strategies, ex Cables over power lines) and fibre route diversity (including terrestrial cross-borders routes)
– promote providers diversity.
– conduct regular capacity assessments,
– choke points identification and mapping (highlighting investment opportunities).

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Mr. Walid Mathlouthi

ITU, Switzerland

Mr. Tomas Lamanauskas

Deputy Secretary General
ITU, Switzerland

Dr. Bosun Tijani

Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy

Ms. Sandra Maximiano

Chair of Board of Directors, ANACOM

Ms. Chan Xin

VP of Standards and Industry Development