It’s been 160 years since the world’s first submarine cable linked a remote corner of Trinity Bay, Newfoundland, with Valentia Island on the west coast of Ireland in 1858. That telegraph cable failed after three weeks, but a new method for transoceanic communications had been established, and today submarine cables are a critical piece of digital infrastructure that’s fast expanding in prevalence and prominence globally – though not yet quickly enough to meet voracious demand for capacity.
Between 2013 and 2017, the subsea cable industry has added an average of 32 percent of capacity annually on major submarine cable routes, according to the industry magazine SubTel Forum. Still, the industry needs to do more. “It will have to increase activity to stay ahead of demand,” SubTel Forum said in its annual report this year.
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