New Submarine Cable Map Shows Increasing Engagement of Content Providers

The incredible demand for data center traffic sees content providers driving projects and route prioritization for submarine cables.

The latest edition of the Submarine Cable Map depicts 464 cable systems and 1,245 landing stations that are currently active or under construction globally. Sponsored by Telecom Egypt, the report highlights current developments and the changing involvement of content providers like Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft, whom are taking a more active role in this recent surge.

Content providers account for a large share of demand on many routes. It’s actually over 50% in the Atlantic, intra-Asia, and trans-Pacific. Telegeography has a list of the largest content provider’s investments.

2Africa one of the longest cables ever planned

Africa is the home to one of the longest cables ever planned—2Africa. This 37,000 kilometer cable will connect 16 countries in Africa and 23 countries overall. Besides the extreme length, the cable also features a massive potential capacity of over 180 Tbps over 16 fiber pairs.

The members of the consortium include China Mobile, Facebook, MTN, Orange, stc, Telecom Egypt, Vodafone and WIOCC.

In late 2020, Telecom Egypt successfully completed the end-to-end testing and delivery of 2Africa’s brand new diversified Egypt terrestrial crossing routes, with the option to have a seamless optical path between East Africa and Europe via two new landing sites—Port Said and Ras Ghareb—that were selected precisely to ensure physical and geographical diversity. For further diversity, a third new marine path will be established to link the Ras Ghareb and Suez landing stations.

Maroc Telecom’s new West Africa cable, Maroc Telecom West Africa, will head south from Casablanca linking Cote d’Ivoire, Togo, Benin, and Gabon later this year.

Australian company SUB.CO—not to be confused with Subcom, which is building the cable—is launching the first cable directly linking the Middle East with Australia, Oman Australia Cable (OAC). The company hopes to get this cable into service by December.

Only a handful of Cable Suppliers

The report shows that only a handful of suppliers are involved in new submarine cable construction. Just three suppliers—Subcom, ASN, and NEC—account for nearly 90% of the new construction market (by total cable length) since 2017. The only other supplier with a notable share of the market is HMN Tech.

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