How Is the Global Network Keeping Up With Demand?

By Jon HjemboJan 10, 2024


By any measure, the global bandwidth market is thriving. International bandwidth demand has nearly doubled from 2020 to 2022, and has now reached 3.8 Pbps.

Meanwhile, the lit capacity on major submarine cable routes continues to soar, keeping pace with demand.

How? Is the network getting faster?

Not quite. Think bigger highway, not faster cars.

To meet demand, submarine cable operators are lighting additional capacity on existing systems. Not only that, but new systems are coming online across all routes.

The year 2016 initiated a period of significant global investment in the sector. Cables with a combined construction cost of $8.7 billion entered service between 2018 and 2022, and every major subsea route saw new cables deployed during this timeframe.

Investment is expected to surge across all global routes.

Investment is expected to surge across all global routes. Based on publicly-announced planned cables, over $10 billion worth of new cables are expected to enter service between 2023 and 2025. 

Construction Cost of Submarine Cables

Copyright_TeleGeography_gb_costs_sub_construction_costs (1)

Notes: Total construction costs of all international and domestic submarine cables entering service in designated years. Construction costs exclude the cost of subsequent capacity upgrades and annual operational costs. 2023-2025 construction costs based on announced contract values and TeleGeography estimates. Not all planned cables may be constructed. Source: © 2023 TeleGeography

These numbers were pulled from our Transport Networks Research Service.

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Jon Hjembo

Jon Hjembo

Senior Research Manager Jonathan Hjembo joined TeleGeography in 2009 and heads the company’s data center research, tracking capacity development and pricing trends in key global markets. He also specializes in research on international transport and internet infrastructure development, with a particular focus on Eastern Europe, and he maintains the dataset for TeleGeography’s website,

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