An expanding web of submarine fiber-optic cables is spreading across the world's waterways as service providers seek new sources of dark fiber to support growing demand for ultra-broadband services.
The global market for submarine fiber-optic cable is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.76% between 2016 and 2020, according to TechNavio.
"Owing to their high-speed capacity, these fiber cables carry an enormous amount of data traffic on a daily basis. Data transfer through submarine optical fiber cables offers several advantages in terms of high reliability, security and capacity and cost-effectiveness," the research firm wrote. "The growth of this market is directly related to the demand for broadband services and the ongoing investments in new projects and increasing investments in upgrade projects."
By 2020, cumulative installations of submarine optical fiber cables will span 2 million kilometers (or 124.3 million miles), with most growth coming from new -- not replacement -- cabling, determined Global Industry Analysts. Many of these green-field deployments will occur in developing nations, the report said. But that does not mean underwater cabling projects are not happening in North America or Europe.
"Demand comes from more people using the Internet, machine-to-machine data, and we're seeing increased mobile penetration, increased usage and the type of data that can be transferred -- especially now we have high-def TV -- really increases the bandwidth demands," said Mike Cunningham, Crosslake Fibre CEO, in an interview with UBB2020.
Under the Lake
Crosslake Fibre, for example, recently unveiled plans to build a new submarine fiber-optic cable from Toronto to Buffalo, NY, a route that will take the cable through Lake Ontario and expand service in both countries, said Cunningham said.
The company, set up specifically for this deployment, focuses on bringing dark fiber to telecom operators and large enterprises via high fiber-count cable, he said. Because its route takes it through Lake Ontario, the cable is shorter than existing, older cable paths and provides lower latency, Cunningham said.
The implementation is a mix of underwater and terrestrial technologies; services are expected to become available in September 2018, according to Crosslake.
"We have built the route really to provide dark fiber. We allow all our customers to light that fiber with their own equipment so this model allows our customers to use existing technology platforms or get the absolutely newest technology and use that when they light their network up," Cunningham said.
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