How Undersea Internet Cables will Change the Game?

How Undersea Internet Cables will Change the Game?

Energy CIO Insights | Wednesday, August 26, 2020

The demand for bandwidth is increasing and content providers are leveraging optical fiber cable to meet the demand.

Fremont, CA: Data is generated every day, and in 2018, humans generated 2.5 million Terabytes of data every day. In the coming years, data creation will set new records.  All the generated data is stored across different storage centers in the world. Accessing all the information is possible because of the internet.  The conception about the internet is that it travels via satellites in space, but in reality, 99 percent of data travel between countries and continents through undersea cables. At present, 400 active undersea cables are lying across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. During 2016-2020, approximately 100 new cables have been laid or planned as the demand for bandwidth has skyrocketed. However, it is difficult to pinpoint the source of this demand.

Companies lay out newer cables instead of leveraging old cables is because the new ones are far more technologically advanced. The main component of the cable is the optical fiber, which is state-of-the-art technology, allowing data to travel at speed close to the light. The new cables are inexpensive or have better economies of scale. Tech giants prefer laying new cables because old cables have few or no spare fiber pairs. New cables can connect some remote parts of the world that are still using satellites.

Tech giants and content providers have increased investment in new optical fiber cable. In the last half a decade, these companies have increased their stake by eight times, and more such investments are in the pipeline. These tech giants and content providers consume over 50 percent of all international bandwidth, and by 2027, the numbers would increase by 80 percent. Currently, content providers are deploying cables on significant routes, mostly Trans-Atlantic and Trans-Pacific, to link data centers. However, routes like India-Singapore and Europe-Africa are not too far in the pipeline.

The undersea cable network is the new economic trade route, and the commodity is data. If content providers unite and own the routes used to transfer data, then the smaller companies will be at an advantage. Other companies looking to use these cables could be charged a higher price for bandwidth. The synopsis of the entire scenario is that the content providers are capable of forming dominance in the internet market.  

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