New data from TeleGeography show that demand for international bandwidth grew 7-fold between 2006 and 2010. To keep up with this flood of traffic, international network operators have invested in network upgrades, and constructed 49 new undersea cables, at a combined cost of $6.5 billion.
As international connectivity plays an increasingly important role in the global economy, protecting the international transmission infrastructure becomes ever more critical. Recent events in Japan and Egypt highlight how telecom operators are meeting the challenges of geologic and geopolitical risks to international communications networks.
The massive earthquake off the coast of Japan damaged several undersea cables, some of which are still awaiting repair. The earthquake temporarily knocked out approximately 30 percent of Japan’s international capacity. Despite these outages, communications between Japan and the rest of the world were largely unaffected, due to the large array of undersea cables linked to Japan.