Investment in data cables set to rise

Wednesday May 04 2022
Submarine cable.

Engineers pull in the EASsy submarine cable when it reached Mombasa in March 2010. Investments in submarine cables could reach $10 billion over the next two years. PHOTO | FILE | NMG


Investments in submarine cables could reach $10 billion over the next two years, as telecoms providers and technology companies seek to increase capacity for global data traffic.

In its latest report, TeleGeography, a telecommunications market research and consulting firm, indicates 486 cable systems and 1,306 landings globally, with $12 billion worth were added in the past five years. Notable cables include the African submarine cable consortium project 2Africa, which will extend 45,000 kilometres and link 33 countries in Africa, the Middle East, and Europe.

In March, Telkom Kenya and Pakistan and East Africa Connecting Europe (PEACE) Cable Company landed new submarine cable in Mombasa. The 15,000 kilometre cable connects Africa, Asia and Europe will provide high speed and capacity, as well as low-latency routes across the connectivity route. Other cables which have terminated in Kenyan include Seacom, The East African Marine Systems (TEAMS) the East Africa Submarine Cable System (EASSy) and the Lower Indian Ocean Network II (LION II). There are now hundreds of thousands of miles of these cables across the world.

Investment is expected to continue across all global routes. Following three straight years between 2016 and 2018 where new subsea cable spending exceeded $2.2 billion, annual investment started to fluctuate in 2019.

In the future, planned new cable investment could exceed $10 billion from 2022-2024.

TeleGeography projects that subsea cable spending will strengthen as hyperscalers shift their position from generating demand to generating supply.


TeleGeography research director Alan Mauldin said the report indicates Europe remains the dominant location for traffic exchange out of the continent and 80 percent of international bandwidth from African countries connects to facilities in Europe.

These new cable designs include cables with a combined construction cost of $12 billion that entered service between 2016 and 2021. Every major subsea route saw new cables deployed during this timeframe.